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Old 11-25-2012, 05:53 AM   #1
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Another one: Too much camper for my truck?

I am a newbie to the forum, but have been browsing around for quite a while. My wife and I are looking at our first camper and I am amazed at how many options/floorplans their are out there. I think that we have finally narrowed down what we are looking for and what will possibly be a good travel trailer for my truck. I am currently deployed overseas, so I have some time to do a little research and make sure that we make a good choice when it comes time to buy.
My tow vehicle will be a 2010 Ford F-150 SCREW. It has a 5.4 L V-8 with 3.55 axle. I also have the tow package. We have been looking at the Rockwood Ultralight 2907 and like that, but have also been thinking about the Rockwood Ultralight 8311ss. However, I am not sure if the 8311 is a little too much camper for my truck. The specs of this camper are: Hitch weighght- 786 and dry weight 6951. The specs are almost right at the max of what I think my truck could safely handle. Almost all of our trips would be short (within 25 miles) and maybe 1-2 longer trips per year (75 miles). So, what do the experts on here think about towing the 8311ss with my truck? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:49 AM   #2
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TFFSoldier,

Its also very important on a proper hitch set up in making for a good experience. I asked a similar question before buying my 34' TT and was told I did not have enough truck for such weight. Lots of folks chime in on this, it almost prevented me from purchasing as I thought I was either going to buy something my family of 6 would outgrow in a very short number of years or i was going to risk killing them by towing with to small of a TV.

I have an 11' Expy 4x4 with HD Tow package and it does great towing the Tracer 3150BHD. I also have a Hensley Arrow Hitch, that was the key for me. My wheel base is 119" vs your F150 which is longer (better). Having never towed before and having a brand new 34' TT, I was a bit OCD on ensuring the family would be safe. We made 9 trips this year, there was lots of wind on the highways, and I will say that the Hensley hitch made the difference. Most of our trips had small inclines, I do want to hit YellowStone next year, that will be a challenge with the mountains, etc. but something I still think can be done safely. Take your time, keep your distance and under 65mph and you should be fine.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by tffsoldier View Post
Almost all of our trips would be short (within 25 miles) and maybe 1-2 longer trips per year (75 miles). So, what do the experts on here think about towing the 8311ss with my truck? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Are you kidding me?? You're going to buy a new trailer and always stay
within 75 miles of home? Nah, I think you're just kidding yourself

Yes you can pull with what you have with the right hitch and by being
careful. No you don't want to limit yourself to that.
My advice go with the lighter one or plan on a bigger truck soon.

I can and have towed my rig all over at interstate speeds. I get down to
2nd gear on a few of the high mtn passes. I can tow in 2nd at 45 MPH all
day if necessary but it's rare to be in 2nd. My TT weighs about 4300 loaded
with food water and gear. I occasionally add a 500LB motorcycle in the
bed of the truck.

Go ahead and get the trailer you (or your wife) wants. Then upgrade your
truck! We've just about all been there!!

Happy Camping!
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tffsoldier View Post
I am currently deployed overseas, so I have some time to do a little research and make sure that we make a good choice when it comes time to buy.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Currently Deployed.. thank you for your service. You will have to move that TT sooner or later to your next duty station (something to think about). While there may be plenty to do within 25 miles of your home right now doesn't mean that at your next duty station you will be that fortunate. Or you may want to explore a but further afield.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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Three years ago we started as you are doing with a shorter and smaller TT. It was a Heartland 24-RBS- 27' long dry weight around 5,800. We have the Equal-i-zer anti-sway 4-point hitch. There are some better but for the price it is good. We had no problems pulling it 2,000 to FL and back on our first trip. After one trip it was too small. We searched again and settled on a 26-FKWS Flagstaff by Forest River. It's 29' long and around 6,200# dry with 900# of carrying capacity. It's just a few feet longer and a few pounds heavier. The long & deep (39") slide really opens the kitchen area. It's a really great floor plan and a quality unit. I really love the Tor-Flex Dexter axle with self-adjusting brakes. It pulls very easily and once I got used to backing a trailer it was very easy to get into our tight parking area at the house. Our TV is a 2010 F-150 with 4.6-L engine & tow package. Reasonable fuel mileage (10-11) and pulls very well. I was told once that few people trade for a smaller unit and most trade for a larger one. At first I was also concerned about weight, length, handling, etc. After a few hundred miles I got comfortable. One more piece of info. We had the Flagstaff 6 weeks last summer and it was totaled by a dump truck in a gas station as we were trying to leave to head home to AR. We had camped in it about 3 weeks when this happened. We loved everything about it and 30 days later ordered a new one exactly like the first. JMTCW
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:44 AM   #6
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Thank you for your services. With the right set up and patience I think your truck will be ok. Good luck. And thanks again.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
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Too much ????

JUST ME.... ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN MATH. Better to have safety and less stress with a comfortable ride than a white knuckle nightmare camping trip. keep you and your family safe and happy. Check out this link its an eye opener.

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-tow-v...l:signhavefun:

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Old 11-25-2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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I recently purchased the 2013 8315BSS and tow it with an '07 Expedition Max (EL in the US) so my TV and TT weights, capabilities and wheelbase (131") are very similar to yours. I did notice some slight sway while towing it back home the 80kms from where we bought it and camped but then I was only using a WDH with 750lb spring bars and no sway control (the dealership told me I'd be just fine - should have gone with my own intuition and upgraded the bars). The TV pulled it just great at 100kph (62mph), sitting at about 2500rpm. For the spring, I plan on purchasing 1200lb spring bars and some additional sway control. These should help reduce any sway but as it is a big unit anyway I know it will still catch the wind and vortex from passing semis.

I'll be just within my capacities but then I never travel with water or waste in my tanks nor do we have a huge amount of provisions as we tend to purchase these when we arrive at our destination.

For next year, we are planning on heading to YNP and the Flathead Lake in MT - traveling from Calgary. I tend to set off I the early hours to avoid the traffic and while the winds are are their lowest.

I think you should be alright, just watch what you load into the trailer when packing.

Thank you for you service, stay safe.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:05 PM   #9
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according to the Ford Towing Guide, you have a towing capacity of either 9800 or 9700, depending on whether it's 4x2 or 4x4.

don't use the useless and fictional "dry" weights. #1 newbie mistake, along with listening to the RV salesman.

the GVWR of the trailer, at 8450lbs, is well under your tow max.

just get a good WDH, like the Equal-i-zer or Reese Dual-Cam and a Prodigy brake controller and you'll be good to go.
just don't put a lot of payload in the truck. the actual tongue weight will be around 750lbs.
just like Ford says: "Trailer tongue weight should be 10-15% of total loaded trailer weight."
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:15 PM   #10
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Like Dan said "how much can I tow" should be based on the maximum your proposed camper can weigh; not the least. That way you have "wiggle room" for extra people or gear for a particular trip.

Also, remember that posted tow ratings for your truck are based on an EMPTY truck! Every pound in the truck comes OFF the maximum camper you can tow.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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You need to watch your rear axle weight rating with the F-150's ...You will most probably exceed it when you load up your trailer and the bed of the truck. You might be ok on the tow numbers but your rear axle weight rating will be the tricky one, even with a good weight distributing hitch.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #12
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Also, remember that posted tow ratings for your truck are based on an EMPTY truck! Every pound in the truck comes OFF the maximum camper you can tow.
To expand on what Lou is stating.

If the truck is maxed out at the GVWR (7200 lbs. ??), then that limits the tow capacity due to the GCWR.

For example, the listed GCWR of the 2010 F150, 5.4L, 4x4, Crew Cab with 5.5' bed and 3.55 gears is listed at 15,500 lbs. with a 9600 lb. tow rating.

To tow a 9600 lb. trailer, you could only have 5900 lbs on the truck axles. My 2006 F150 Super Cab weighs about that with me in the seat, some personal gear in the cab, a bed liner, TracRac rails, a small tool box and a few other items in the bed.

A 4x2 even has a less GCWR.....15,300 lbs, but does have a 9800 lb. tow rating for the 5.5' bed. Each of the 6.5' beds have 100 lb. less tow rating

The GCWR is going to be 1 of the determining factors. 1 of the others to consider is the GVWR. When I hang a 700 lb. trailer tongue on my truck, let the missus and dog in the cab with me, and load camping gear in the bed, I am getting pretty close to my GVWR. A 786 lb. tongue weight is going to "grow" significantly when you start loading gear into the trailer. That is probably going to be in the 900 to 1000 lb. range. That will add to the weight of the truck, and probably get you close to the GVWR with your other gear and passengers.

It would be a good idea to load up your truck with passengers and expected load for camping, and get to some scales before you buy the trialer, just to see what kinda tongue weight you can add.

1 other item is to make sure your hitch is good to go. There should be a label on the hitch stating your tow rating, and especially important is your weight distributing tongue weight capacity. You will definitely need a properly setup WDH, and ideally 1 with integrated sway control.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:35 AM   #13
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Thanks for the advice

Thanks everyone. It looks like my truck will be okay for the Rockwood Signature Ultralight 8311ss. However, now I feel a bit better hearing it from the "experts"
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:34 AM   #14
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:34 AM   #15
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Look at the sticker on the drivers side door post. It lists your GVWR and payload specific to your truck not a spec on the internet. From this you will better be able to figure what you can really tow.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:05 AM   #16
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Thanks everyone. It looks like my truck will be okay for the Rockwood Signature Ultralight 8311ss. However, now I feel a bit better hearing it from the "experts"
I am sorry; how did you get that from the posts here?

http://www.rvwholesalers.com/design/...oorplan=8311SS

This shows a "loaded" weight of 8450 for this camper. Your tongue weight will fall between 10% and 15% (or 845 - 1268 pounds) Properly loaded the tongue weight should target 1056 pounds.

Weigh your truck NOW with all your folks and gear you plan on having in the truck (including the hitch) and add 1056 pounds to it to see how your truck's GVWR, GCWR, and axle ratings stack up with a load on.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:51 AM   #17
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Well. The problem is that I am currently deployed and not able to actually weigh my truck. I am trying to get an idea if anyone currently uses a similar truck/trailer combo. My wife may be purchasing the camper while I am away. So, we are just trying to see if this camper would be okay with my truck. I do know that my truck has a GVWR of 7200lbs and that we would be traveling with very little in the bed of the truck. Also, the majority of the time I will not be carrying water and too many other things in the camper. Any further opinions would be much appreciated before we decide on anything.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:11 AM   #18
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JUST ME.... ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN MATH. Better to have safety and less stress with a comfortable ride than a white knuckle nightmare camping trip. keep you and your family safe and happy. Check out this link its an eye opener.

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-tow-v...l:signhavefun:

Should be (Required) reading before having a RV. Youroo!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #19
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Should be (Required)reading before haveing a RV. Youroo!!
X-2... thank you youroo.It's better to have a safe comfortable trip for you and your family than a dangerous white knuckle nightmare.


Just me, do the math yourself.It's a real eye opener
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:36 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by tffsoldier View Post
Well. The problem is that I am currently deployed and not able to actually weigh my truck. I am trying to get an idea if anyone currently uses a similar truck/trailer combo. My wife may be purchasing the camper while I am away. So, we are just trying to see if this camper would be okay with my truck. I do know that my truck has a GVWR of 7200lbs and that we would be traveling with very little in the bed of the truck. Also, the majority of the time I will not be carrying water and too many other things in the camper. Any further opinions would be much appreciated before we decide on anything.
Actually everyone says that; but no one I know does.

While few actually travel with more water in the tank than needed to flush the hopper a few times and wash your hands, nearly all carry some. No one I know drains the fresh water tank after sanitizing it since you would have to sanitize again every time you need to use it. Keeping some chlorinated water in there and replacing it regularly, is a good thing.

Food, clothing, camping gear, lawn chairs, entertainment items, bedding, screen tents, tools (lots in my case), mods to your camper, pots, pans and dishes will add up faster than calories at a buffet.

I run close to my max when camping for more than a weekend.
I am sure there are very few "barefoot" campers.
We do like our comforts.

IMO, be safe and plan your purchase on running the camper at its max (rather than empty); then take less (if it turns out that way) as a safety buffer and less wear and tear on the truck.
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