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Old 04-11-2013, 01:14 AM   #1
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2013 sv 305

We are looking to buy a 2013 sv 305 this weekend. This will be our 1st trailer.
We would like to get some opinions on quality ect... They seem to be a real nice trailer. Any info would be great!

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Old 04-11-2013, 02:12 AM   #2
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i hope you have a big, strong tow vehicle!
that 36'+ trailer will easily weigh 10,000lbs. loaded for camping.

Dan-Retired Firefighter/EMT
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and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
'07 Roo 23SS pushing an '07 Chevy Avalanche
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:02 AM   #3
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We have a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ it's rated at 8200lbs. We will likely up grade to a diesel at some point though.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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JJ - no camper ever weighs the dry weight. Not even close. The moment one thing is optioned from the factory, the weight of the camper goes up. Additionally, the dry weights rarely include necessities like propane tanks + propane and batteries. You're likely looking at 800-1,000 pounds added by the time the camper arrives on the dealer's lot and the dealer adds their stuff (they're the one that does the propane + batteries).

Next, you're going to add some of your own "stuff" - clothes, bedding, linens, kitchen supplies, camping gear, grill, you name it. Depending on if you camp with hookups, you may or may not be travelling with fluids in the tanks (water heater tank, freshwater tank and your gray/black holding tanks). Water is heavy at 8 pounds per gallon. Figure a minimum of 6-10 gallons for the water heater unless you regularly empty it.

Very likely, you're camper is going to weigh 9,000-9,500 pounds when it's "wet" and ready to camp.

And now- here's what stinks. Auto manufacturers advertise unrealistic towing numbers. The problem is payload capacity (i.e. the amount that the truck was designed to carry) is generally limited on SUVs. To tow 8,200 pounds, you likely can only have a full tank of fuel and a 150 pound driver. No passengers, no accessories and no gear.

Sadly- I'm not making this up. I did the math for my father-in-law (FIL). My FIL's Toyota 4Runner has an advertised towing capacity of 7,000 pounds. At the end of the day, with he and his wife and the payload capacity available, his maximum trailer was 4,000-4,500 pounds. You can read about how I arrived at that here.

To find out what you can realistically tow with your Chevy Tahoe, you need to find out your payload capacity. This is going to be the difference between what the maximum the truck can carry (called the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR) and what the truck actually weighs with you, your passengers and a regular camping load in the vehicle. The number remaining is what you can carry for tongue weight (the trailer pushes down on the back of your Tahoe somewhere between 12%-15% of it's total weight). If your tongue weight is higher than your available payload, you're overweight and are exceeding the truck's ratings.

Do the math- you are likely looking at too much trailer for your vehicle. You're options are tough:
a) Look at smaller trailers
b) Look at a bigger tow vehicle
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:26 AM   #5
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First, that's a beautiful camper! However, I'd never try to tow it with a Tahoe.

The Tahoe's rating of 8200 lbs is assuming only one passenger and NO cargo. The camper DRY weight is 7,800 lbs. That assumes no food, clothes, factory options, lawn chairs, water in the tanks, etc. You add one more passenger in the tahoe and you are basically maxed out before you even pack a suitcase.

Personally, I'd not take the risk. Either choose a smaller/lighter TT or go ahead and upgrade your vehicle.

There are a lot of calculators and advice on what you can safely tow. It's not just about the weight of the trailer and your towing capacity either. You have to consider tongue weight, what type of hitch you are using and also the length of the TT vs the wheelbase of the TV (longer Wheelbase is better).

As a quick and dirty calculation to use when shopping... think about your Tahoe, how much your family weighs all together, and then add about 400-600 lbs for cargo (NOT including water) for typical week long trip (that number from my dealer as a good estimate...). Add 10% as a buffer. Then subtract that from your 8,200 lbs.

So, as an example.. Famiy of 4. Dad is 180, mom 150, kids 100lb each. That's 530lbs of people. Then add 500 lbs for cargo - 1,030. Add 100 lbs for water (assuming a few gals fresh, a couple gals in the waste tanks) 1,130. Then add 10% buffer, so that's approx 1,240 of people and cargo as a minimum. Believe me that cargo keeps accumulating the more trips you make...

8,200 - 1,240 = 5,960

If you plan on towing with that Tahoe, I'd not even look at any TT with a dry weight of more than that. Then once you get it narrowed down, come back and run some of the calculators that are in the forum here about towing and capacities - there's lots of good advice there.

Again, that's a very simple estimate, and there are other factors to consider (which frankly usually LIMIT you more, not give you more capacity) but that was what we used when we started shopping to make sure we weren't maxing out our vehicle.

And, of course just because you can move the TT with the vehicle doesn't mean it will be safe or simple. The closer you are to your upper limit the less fun it is to tow that baby around. You'll be going up mountains at 30 MPH with the engine whining, or white knuckling it every time a truck goes past you or the wind starts blowing.
2012 Flagstaff V-lite 30 WTBS
2011 Ford Expedition
4 kids and a hubby & never enough time to camp!
2011: 17 nights 2012: 26 nights 2013: 46 2014: 20 2015: 16
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:30 AM   #6
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The SV305 is a very nice trailer. They seem to be fairly well built. The concern I would have would be your tow vehicle. You will be way over on your numbers. ependydad is right, you should look for a smaller trailer or a larger tow vehicle.
Todd & Sheila and kids
Rouleau, Saskatchewan
2012 Surveyor SV-305
2012 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 CC Outdoorsman
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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8,200 - 1,240 = 6,960 is the right answer

If you plan on towing with that Tahoe, I'd not even look at any TT with a dry weight of more than that.

I agree with the rest. While that us a great camper, well built, beautiful looking, and great options, it may be a but much for your Tahoe. That said, depending on your camping plans and location, it may work for a bit until you can get a new TV.
I pulled our old 28BH with a 1/2t burb, and didn't love it. Loaded i was around 7K lbs, and with me, dw, and two dd's, we were in the edge of weight ratings. Was it safe? I think so and pulled a couple thousand miles of 100-200 mile, one way, trips. Once i got my used F250 CC, i like pulling much better.
Just be honest with Yourself about getting a new tow vehicle and then decide on the pull home. I have a good friend that used his 6.0 escalade to pull home his new 32' tt, and then took his Dakota pickup straight to a dealer and bought z two year old 2500 CC duramax.
Just dont put Yourself in a bad spot i guess.
Joel and Teresa
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:56 AM   #8
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We almost bought a Surveyor Select 305, really liked it but dealer literally could not put a deal together (after price was fully negotiated) for a week. We walked.

To start out - the information above is dead on. There is simply no way you can pull that with any Tahoe ever made. The dealer should never even think of letting you pull off the lot like that. Sorry, that is just the facts.

On the trailer itself, still the nicest, best laid out and most feature rich bunk room we ever looked at. My wife's hand's down favorite. I liked the torsion suspension on a trailer that size, not common. We also loved all the interior room, the exterior kitchen was awesome and all the other features.

We were 50/50 on the Vista Lounge couch as opposed to traditional couch and dinette. We thought the bar stools they give you would be more usable than a traditional dinette. Still 50/50, might have been great, might not.

Two things we really did not like; the partition to the bunk room instead of a real door and the countertops. The one we were trying to buy already had the partition ripped down. Looked like it would be a longterm issue. And I just did not care the look or feel of the countertops. They felt cheap for a 30K trailer.

we ended up looking at Coachmen and once we saw the trailer in our signature we were in love. Truly if the deal had worked out on the 305 and we saw the Coachmen later, I would have been very unhappy with the Surveryor.

2013 Coachmen Freedom Express 320BHDS pulled by a 2005 F250 King Ranch CC

A rainy day camping is better than a sunny day at work.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:53 PM   #9
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that's what i was afraid of!

i own a '07 Avalanche, built on the same GM900 platform as the Tahoe, only longer.
there's NO WAY i'd tow a 36' trailer with the shorter wheelbase Tahoe and there's no way that trailer will be anywhere under the 8200lbs. tow capacity.

let me guess, the RV salesman said "No problem, your Tahoe can tow that!"

your first mistake, a common newbie one, is using fictional "dry" numbers.
no trailer weighs that when it leaves the factory.
the brochure "dry" weight of 7782lbs. won't be what it will weigh at the dealer. it'll weigh over 8000lbs. empty.
i'm not sure how you're thinking you can tow it, even if the "dry" number was true.

you need to look for a shorter and lighter trailer or get that diesel you're talking about.
Dan-Retired Firefighter/EMT
Shawn-Musician/Entrepreneur/Wine Expert
and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
'07 Roo 23SS pushing an '07 Chevy Avalanche
Equalizer WDH and Prodigy BC
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:44 PM   #10
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I have a 2012 sv 305,love the trailer but have not had good luck with it.Have had it to the dealer for repaires several times. going back in april for replacement of skylight for the second time,once in june of 2012 and now agin in april,seems like we have a problem of it cracking over the winter and leaking.right now its raining and I can't get it to seal due to the cold,have other issues with water leaking through fridge vent into and on floor,NOT A HAPPY CAMPER.

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