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Old 07-19-2018, 01:03 PM   #1
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1/2 Ton Towables

Hey y'all. This post is for anyone considering a larger 1/2 Ton Towable unit and plan to use their 1/2 ton to tow. I can't speak for anyone else's experience but I thought I would share my experience with 1\2 Ton Towables.

I bought a Coachmen 292BHDS 29' TT (6700 dry, 7000ish loaded, 7600max) last year and worked all the numbers to make sure that my Ram 1500 could handle it. It was a lengthy calculation process that included TV GVWR, GCWR, TT GVWR, TV payload, tongue weight, and effects of w/d hitch. After the pencil dust settled I was within MYcomfort zone. What I realized is that there is a big difference between theoretical(numbers) and actual(reality). Yes, the Ram could tow it.

What I mean by that is that it could pull the trailer comfortably on slightly uneven ground at 45 to 50 mph. But if you plan to take it on the highway at 60-65 mph or tow in the West it became a totally different animal.

So, here was my experience. The Ram performed admirably for how much it was hauling. But I quickly found it's limits here in AZ. We towed the TT to WA, UT, CA, and locally in AZ. Routinely the oil temps ran in the 260-280 range and really scared me when I saw 295! We pulled up a 6 degree grade for several miles at OAT of 90+, elevation 6000', and the Ram ran out of HP. We finished the hill in 2nd gear, crawling at 20 mph, engine roaring, watching oil temp approach 300. Lesson: get more momentum on long grades and stay in high RPMs. Addition: aftermarket oil cooler. Average mpg: 8

The Coachmen is a great trailer. We love it. But it is 33' from tip to tail. Plus about 20' of truck means approx. 55' total length. The standard fuel island now becomes a challenge. We seriously used aerial recon(google satellite maps) before stopping for fuel. I got stuck once. Not fun. But 55' also catches a lot of wind. Every ripple from passing trucks and semis or x-winds was noticable. Down hill in a x-wind with semis passing? White knuckle Disneyland adventure ride!! Tail wagging the Dog. Lesson: get another sway bar(makes 2). Level the ride. Addition: rear air bags and another anti-sway bar. Hellwig rear roll bar for Ram.

After a year, we finally decided to trade in the Ram 1500 Hemi for a Ram 2500 Diesel(don't even think about getting into that discussion!!). Every time towing the trailer with the 1500 felt like the suspension was swimming down the highway. The new TV? HUGE DIFFERENCE!!! No more sway, no more power outages, no more suck-you-in-spit-you-out from passing trucks, no more squishy suspension feel. Rock solid now. MPG: 23 unloaded, 11ish towing.

I know what you're thinking: But the 1/2 ton CAN tow it and it's so expensive to go to a 3/4 ton! Trust me. Don't make my mistake. Pony up and get a 3/4 ton. Or else look for a TT WELL BELOW YOUR MAX TOW! It's no good getting to your campground worn out and nerves a wreck. Your marriage and kids will thank me.

The Verdict: 1/2 ton towables are towable by 1\2 tons. But limited in serious ways. Speed, grades, temps, winds, all are operating limitations for all TVs but especially for 1/2 tons. IMHO. Discuss.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:09 PM   #2
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You just described perfectly my first year owning my 36' TT and towing it with a 1/2 ton. Traded up to a 2500 Chevy Duramax and the difference was night and day.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:17 PM   #3
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1/2 Ton Towables

depends on the 1/2 ton, towing package and engine. I had no issues towing a similar rig with a Tundra 5.7l with towing package. YMMV. We towed our 28' TT (31 bumper to hitch) through out the Rocky Mountain West for ten years and never experienced elevated transmission temp, sway or any other issue.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:26 PM   #4
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Totally agree with you.

Went from towing with my Esky to my new to me F350. Night and day difference.

I know I would've blown that Esky out west this spring.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:28 PM   #5
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Took road trip last summer out to Yellowstone and back. Can't imagine how that would have worked with a 1/2 ton.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:32 PM   #6
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I started out towing my TT with a 1500 Silverado and Equalizer hitch. It performed pretty well (TT about 6000 lbs.). In preparation for a 5th wheel next yr we bought a 3500 Duramax DRW. Of course it tows the TT very comfortably, still use the Equalizer hitch. While the 1500 performed ok, at this point I would recommend anyone planning to tow an RV over 5000 lbs get at least a 3/4 ton truck. There is nothing like being totally relaxed while towing.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:41 PM   #7
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Sounds like that RAM was either near capacity or slightly over. No wonder it didn't perform.


Max towing for a RAM is about 8700lbs minus your dry weight leaves 2000lbs for hitch, propane, passengers, clothing, cooking utensils, food, and anything else that is added.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:44 PM   #8
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There are plenty of real 1/2 tow able tt's out there . a 33' would not be one of them . maybe 27 , but 24 would be even better .
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:47 PM   #9
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I think the real problem here is that trailers are being marketed as "Half-Ton towable" and really aren't. While the dry weights make sense, the real world numbers put the half ton truck in a world of hurt.

There is a very small percentage of trucks in that class that are actually up to the task.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jd50i View Post
Sounds like that RAM was either near capacity or slightly over. No wonder it didn't perform.


Max towing for a RAM is about 8700lbs minus your dry weight leaves 2000lbs for hitch, propane, passengers, clothing, cooking utensils, food, and anything else that is added.

Sounds like you are confusing towing capacity with cargo capacity.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:49 PM   #11
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The OP states
"I bought a Coachmen 292BHDS 29' TT (6700 dry, 7000ish loaded, 7600max) "

That's 900 pounds carrying capacity for a 33 foot trailer??

That is the fallacy in the so called half ton towable units, I would submit that most of the larger half ton towable units are over weight when loaded for travel.

It's all about marketing and anything to sell the units.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 07-19-2018, 01:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 007matman View Post
I think the real problem here is that trailers are being marketed as "Half-Ton towable" and really aren't. While the dry weights make sense, the real world numbers put the half ton truck in a world of hurt.

There is a very small percentage of trucks in that class that are actually up to the task.
Exactly why people need to educate themselves on what THEIR vehicle would tow and definitely don't ask a seller if your truck would tow it.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:56 PM   #13
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depends on the 1/2 ton, towing package and engine.
X2 on that.
My camper is almost 35' long and we are 65' total when towing and I just came back from our summer trip - Indiana to Myrtle Beach, SC and back going over the mountains and didn't have any problems.
I need to clarify that my truck does have the HDPP though, which includes an additional leaf in the rear suspension and a 3.73 rear differential.

Adding rear bags on a rig that has sway problems will only make the sway worst for it will make the front lighter...
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jd50i View Post
Exactly why people need to educate themselves on what THEIR vehicle would tow and definitely don't ask a seller if your truck would tow it.
No only that but get education on where the swing come from and how to solve it...
For example, adding airbags to that situation would only makes things worst.....
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:06 PM   #15
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Hello. I am a complete NEWBIE to owning a travel trailer. I own a 2017 Ram Laramie Crew Cab with the Hemi and 3.92 ratio rear end. The Ram chart says I can tow 10,170 lbs.

MY RV salesman told me that the roughly 6500 lbs Rockwood TT (When loaded) was about at my weight limit if I wanted to pull out west to Glacier or Yellowstone....which we plan on doing.

I think he underestimates the Ram 1500. Yes, I don't want to buy a 10K lb trailer and load it to my max weight limit, however, i think I could easily go up to a 9000 lb trailer.

Am I crazy?

Thanks for the post!
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Flyboyatjvl View Post
Hello. I am a complete NEWBIE to owning a travel trailer. I own a 2017 Ram Laramie Crew Cab with the Hemi and 3.92 ratio rear end. The Ram chart says I can tow 10,170 lbs.

MY RV salesman told me that the roughly 6500 lbs Rockwood TT (When loaded) was about at my weight limit if I wanted to pull out west to Glacier or Yellowstone....which we plan on doing.

I think he underestimates the Ram 1500. Yes, I don't want to buy a 10K lb trailer and load it to my max weight limit, however, i think I could easily go up to a 9000 lb trailer.

Am I crazy?

Thanks for the post!

It's all about your cargo capacity. A 9000lb trailer will put about 1300lbs of tongue weight on the truck. On top of that you need to add in the weight of passengers plus any cargo. If this number exceeds your cargo capacity, you are overweight. Ignore "towing capacity" that number is basically useless.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyboyatjvl View Post
Hello. I am a complete NEWBIE to owning a travel trailer. I own a 2017 Ram Laramie Crew Cab with the Hemi and 3.92 ratio rear end. The Ram chart says I can tow 10,170 lbs.

MY RV salesman told me that the roughly 6500 lbs Rockwood TT (When loaded) was about at my weight limit if I wanted to pull out west to Glacier or Yellowstone....which we plan on doing.

I think he underestimates the Ram 1500. Yes, I don't want to buy a 10K lb trailer and load it to my max weight limit, however, i think I could easily go up to a 9000 lb trailer.

Am I crazy?

Thanks for the post!

You need to find the GCWR for YOUR particular truck. It should be on a sticker when you open the drivers door. From that you subtract the weight of your truck, passengers any cargo, the trailer, hitch, propane, any water in the tanks and any other items in the trailer.


I think he didn't underestimate by much.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:16 PM   #18
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Friend of mine takes delivery tomorrow of a fifth wheel that he intends to tow with his Ram 1500. I explained to him that it was not a good idea (the trailer dry is 8000 pounds). He says that with airbags and such it is towable. This is why I spent so much time looking at different trailers (almost three years worth of looking) before we bought the FBRS21. At ~4600 dry it works out well behind our 1500. We just got back from an inaugural 2000 mile trip from Chicago to DC and up the east coast. The hills in Pennsylvania a couple of times had us down to about 50MPH but that was more from inexperience than anything else. We were only at like 3500 rpms and had more we could have given it but we weren't used to running that high so the speed dropped off. Our mileage averaged around 11 mpg for that trip so I'm not complaining.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:22 PM   #19
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According to the numbers, I could tow a trailer that's 3000 lbs heavier than my current one. Would I do so? Never. People do it all the time, but I'm a firm believer that towing at the upper limit of a half ton is not a very good idea. Especially if you tow in a mountainous area.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:24 PM   #20
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Am I crazy?
No you are not IF you know your WDH is set up properly.

If you look for my posts in this forum you will find one from 2016 were I report our trip to Utah, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas were I was towing a 5400lbs (dry) camper with a BMW X5 (I6 3.0L engine).
That BMW doesn't have turbo, it has only 225 Hps and 212 lbft of torque mated to a 5 spd transmission AND I'm sure my Roo had a way more vertical front than the mentioned Coachmen.
I can tell you that we went up the IKE without problems and entered the tunnel riding way faster than the OP said he did.... and we didn't have any problems with sway in Utah were the side winds are just crazy.
The reason we went up faster than the Ram V8 of the OP is because the BMW has a transmission with the right gear set.
The reason we didn't have problems with sway was because I spent the time studding what WD does and how and why sway happens and I set the WD/Sway control properly.
We also didn't have problems with overheating (the car was with 90K+ miles by then and we got 105F in Las Vegas) because I didn't allow the transmission get into overdrive....

If you have 3.92 gears you should be ok IF your WD and sway control is properly set.
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