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Old 10-30-2020, 08:28 AM   #1
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Would Love Opinions on Options

Hi all, first apologize for what will probably be a long post but would love to get opinions/feedback when Im done. Alright love this forum and all the useful info as its helped a lot this year. We bought our first TT earlier this year (before all the bad covid stuff hit), got a 2020 282QBXL for what we think was a deal (about $18k). Weve never had a camper and its been a fun learning experience. Its my wife and I and our 3 kids (7, 9 and 12) and our lab puppy. We pull it with my 2019 F150, it pulls great as long as its not too windy. We like the camper but after using it all summer have learned quite a few things wed like different and that brings us to the fork in the road. Wife and I dont get a lot of time off work so we camp mainly weekends and within an hour of our home. Id guess we took it out a dozen times this summer.

Obviously when I go over in my head the list of everything we would want it doesnt exist (at least not in our budget). First issue is driving, my wife will not drive the truck with the camper and as much as I dont mind I cant do long distances myself. Also I dont feel comfortable with the current setup going much farther in case it gets windy. We hate how tiny the bedroom is, there is just enough room to walk around the bed and thats it. The bunkhouse is a great idea but with my oldest becoming a teenager next year I think shed like a little more of her own space. The bathroom is Way too small, thought wed need the tub but a shower would of been better. Wed like an outdoor sink with the outdoor kitchen. Last is storage, besides the tiny pass through at the front of the tt there is no good storage. So what are my options?

First thought was upgrade to a 5th wheel. Of course this requires quite a truck upgrade as well. A 5th wheel with a bunkhouse and possibly with a loft would solve our room issue. Most would have a larger bathroom and masters. 5th wheels normally have more storage as well. Downside is cost of not only the camper but a lot bigger truck. My truck is my daily driver and I dont know if Id want to drive a large diesel truck an hour round trip daily. Another downside is length, dont want to be too limited on camping spots. Also if my wife wont drive now, no way she would with a larger camper.

Second thought was a class C. I believe my wife would be more comfortable driving one. I wouldn't have to upgrade trucks. It would always be ready to leave instead of having to get my truck ready and hook up after work on fridays. I would be a lot more comfortable driving longer distances. Of course the trade off is there is not a lot of room in class Cs. I believe one with side bunks for my younger ones and the over cab bunk for my oldest would work. Most seem to have a more spacious master but still small baths. Honestly dont know how storage compares? Already checked and my wifes explorer can be flat towed so thats a plus to take along.

Third is a class A, seems a little unrealistic because of cost but have found some that are decent. Dont know if my wife would drive something this big. Does offer more room then the C though and like they are fully self contained.

For anyone who has tried any of these different options would love your opinion on which you liked better and why. Also would love any input if someone had a similar situation thanks!
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:50 AM   #2
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If you want answers or opinions I would recommend shortening your post like a resume many folks like employers ignore anything that takes more then a short time to read.
Class C can be as big as your pocketbook can handle and requires breaking camp to explore unless you pull a toad. (same with class A)
larger trucks don't have to be diesel based on your hesitation with winds you don't have enough truck now.
there are tons of 5th wheels and truck available in the pre owned market to fit almost every budget.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:50 AM   #3
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One suggestion would be to rent a large class C and see how you like it. The class C is our #1 choice but it is not for everyone. You may be making some false assumptions if you haven’t driven one. “I would be a lot more comfortable driving long distances” than in a crew cab truck? I couldn’t say for sure about that. The C is typically a tall class 4 truck with stiff suspension, and without modifications, it can sway in the wind or track poorly. Passenger accommodations for kids and dog may or may not be adequate, depending on the model. With motorhomes there is a lot of interior noise going down the highway, with everything bumping, rattling, and whistling.

One plus for A or C motorhomes is there is usually sufficient storage for all your camping gear. No need to load and unload your truck with gear every time you camp, as you might do with a TT. Also good about motorhomes is you have a climate controlled, fully self contained living area right behind you which is great for lunch stops or quick overnight stops when traveling. There is no need to even go outside if the weather is bad.

Setup is usually easy with a motorhome. For us, it often involves setting the parking brake, pushing the auto level button for the hydraulic jacks, open the slide outs, and plugging in the power cord. Done.

An advantage with a motorhome is the ability to tow different toys behind you, depending on the trip. If you are in to different activities, you could tow a car, a cargo trailer, motorcycle in/on a trailer, a boat, or ATVs in/on a trailer, etc., depending on what you want to do. If all you would ever tow is a car, then a truck and TT might work just as well.

My wife is totally OK with driving the C, but she would probably drive any type camper we might own.

There is no perfect solution, thus the reason there are so many different RVs. All that being said, the C is still our RV of choice.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:56 AM   #4
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Appreciate the suggestion, we might do that next spring and try one for a weekend to see how we like it.
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:14 AM   #5
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I too was at your fork in the road when we wanted to get back in to traveling with an RV. My wife wanted a class A and I wanted a 5er. Will we sat down and went over all of the options for all types of RV's from Class A, Class C, Super C and 5th wheels.

With all four types of RV's listed above you need to tow a vehicle or trailer. If you plan on doing anything other than sitting around a fire in the campground.

As an example my neighbor has a class C motorhome and he does not tow any vehicle behind him now. Will that has changed since his last trip were they just sat all week at a campground. He is now looking at an additional dollar outlay to tow 4 down a new car behind the Class C with all of the components required to tow the vehicle.

That was my argument against buying a Class A to my wife. I did not want to tow and maintain two different powertrains to go on any RV trip. Such as the maintenance on the engine and transmission for the class A these cost are expensive. I now only have to maintain the tow vehicle powertrain less expense and the rolling chassis of the 5th wheel much less involved to maintain.

As far as distance we travel basically 300 to 350 miles a day when towing. We stop about 2 or 3 times a day when towing to stretch our legs in rest stops. I do all of the driving my wife is the navigator and is responsible in finding fuel stations and whatever is required, this works will for us. When we are our doing a 1000 mile or more trip. We will stay at campgrounds that have a pull-thru site. I will not un-hook the truck from the camper but will put down the front legs to help with stabilization. We will extend the slides and use the trailer for the over night visit.

Now as far as trucks, a SRW 3500 model truck is no larger in length than a 1500 full size pick-up truck. So, driving around a city should not be an issues since you all ready have a F150. You can get either a gas or diesel engine in your truck you can choose what is good for you.

As far as maintenance cost on a diesel engine tow vehicle, my cost are $0.12 a mile thru 138,000 miles to date. This includes two different sets of tires and rims since I have summer tires and winter tires that I use. I also have extra fuel filter with a deeper transmission oil pan that requires more transmission fluid when I change the fluid. I have replace the brakes/rotors and have done some suspension work on the truck. Which any vehicle will require as it ages.

Just my $0.02, you need to look at everything when making any major investment.
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:07 AM   #6
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You don't have to tow a vehicle behind your class A or C. Some folks simply rent a car for use at their destination. This doesn't work for a lot of people; just something to consider based on your camping style.
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:09 AM   #7
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My wifes vehicle can be flat towed. As far as maintenance Im lucky to have been in the automobile field for the past 15 years. Currently a parts Manager at a car dealership so I get good prices on parts and labor if I dont want to do it myself but its a consideration thanks!
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mjones12 View Post
You don't have to tow a vehicle behind your class A or C. Some folks simply rent a car for use at their destination. This doesn't work for a lot of people; just something to consider based on your camping style.
Really: Do you want to spend an extra $25 to $35 a day for a rental car? Over your other cost for an RV and traveling. Also how are you going to get this rental car to and from the rental agency, you are not at an airport. You are usually out in the country at a campground away from the rental agency.

This is why my neighbor in his class C sat for a week at the campground, he thought that he could rent a car! It didn't happen. He could not find a rental agency that would drive and pick up the car to and from the campground.
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:22 AM   #9
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Some of our campouts are three or four night stays at a state park. We use bicycles or we walk to get around in the park. No need for a car or truck to get around because we don’t want to go anywhere anyway. We just take the motorhome and park it, but even if we used a truck and TT for those trips, we wouldn’t even bother to unhook the truck.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:16 PM   #10
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You asked for opinions. Opinions are free:

OPINION #1
A big issue you mention is that your wife won't drive the tow vehicle (TV). I'm inclined to believe she won't drive a bigger tow vehicle with a bigger trailer behind it, and she wouldn't drive a Class C or Class A if her life depended on it.

OPINION #2 - actually several opinions in one
Wind is an issue with all of these rigs. May I suggest you get some qualified help to setup your weight distribution hitch (WDH) so that it's functioning at its best. For sure, cross-winds require extra caution and patience, but if you are being blown around a lot, fine tune the WDH and you might see a real difference. At about 8600 pounds soaking wet, your rig may well be within the specs for your TV, but it's a LOT for a half-ton. And it's a long trailer at that.

Looking at your GVWR (8569# - UVW + CCC) and your tongue weight (768#), you seem to be "light" on the tongue. The rule of thumb is to have AT LEAST 10% of the GVWR on the tongue. If the tongue weight isn't heavy enough, the tail tends to wag the dog. Change the way you load the rig and move some weight forward. In your case, those 4 bunks are a huge temptation to screw up what pilots call weight and BALANCE. You can get the weight right, but the balance is too far aft. The tongue is already prone to be too light, so load more heavy stuff ahead of the rig's axles to get weight on the tongue...and adjust your WDH accordingly.

Also remember that if you travel "wet" (water in the fresh tank and waste in the holding tanks, those tanks tend to be over the axles, so they don't impact balance very much. If, for example, you mount a class II hitch carrier on the rear of your rig and plunk down a generator on that platform, you're adding about 200# as far back as you can possibly go. If you do that, you must either counter-balance that load FAR forward, or reconsider where you haul your genny.

Also, check the tire pressures on your TV and your trailer. Your TV is likely to be loaded pretty much to its limits. Your TV's tires should probably be inflated to a higher pressure...even to the point of max pressure on the tires' sidewalls. Check your owner's manual.
If you are at or near max load on the TV when towing (e.g. 4 or 5 people in the cab, bunches of stuff in the bed, AND the tongue weight, you might even benefit from a stouter truck tire...going from say a load range D to a load range E. That's a bit extreme if you actually stay within your TV's GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). But it's a thought. Stiffer tires will be, well, stiffer, so the TV will wiggle less.

Trailer tires MUST be inflated to spec, or you run the risk of an expensive blowout ripping out a wheel well on your rig.
Get a TPMS to monitor tire pressures on the trailer and TV.

Consider adding "spring" to your TV. I have airbags on my truck, and I absolutely LOVE them. The really firm up the rear end, which was prone to wallow even with just 2000# in tow. "More spring" might impact the setup of the WDH, so add the airbags first, then get help with the WDH.

OPINION 3
Of the rigs you mentioned, ONLY THE FIFTH WHEEL has any hope of actually being bigger inside. You have a large trailer, so to replicate that in a Class C, well, it's not likely you can. And if you look closely at a Class A, you'll see that the driver's/passenger's cab area eats up a ton of floor space. Any Class A in your price range (based on your choice of trailer) is going to be considerably smaller inside. Get a diesel pusher with a tag axle ($300,000 and up) and you might gain space.

OPINION 4
It seems to me that your choice of a 4-bed bunk area must have been motivated by "something"...like 3 or 4 kids, perhaps?? If so, you made the right choice. If the bunks are "gratuitous" and essentially wasted space, well, live and learn. If you really just needed a couples camper with space to have occasional overnight guests, a Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2104 S would be enough - https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/trave...lite/2104S/907 - and that line gets larger from there.

OPINION 5
I can't speak to you being willing to buy a $60,000 250 or 2500 series 3/4 ton (or larger) and a fiver. If price is no object, you might pickup a good used 3/4 ton for $35,000 and a good new or used fiver for about $30,000 or more. If room to walk around the bed is an issue, you'd better spend some real time in any rig you are considering and be sure it meets your expectations. On the flip side, you might need a pretty good sized fiver to offer more walk-around space in the bedroom...one with a bed slide.

What should you do? The one thing I'd do no mater what is to make sure your rig and TV are setup properly, the WDH is set correctly, the balance of weight in the rig is right, and maybe even go to a truck scale and do a thorough weigh in. There are threads on the subject in the forums...just search. By the numbers, your combo should work well if setup properly.
And then adjust your expectations when it's windy OR YOU ARE IN HEAVY TRUCK TRAFFIC - human caused wind.

I can't help you with getting your wife to drive. If she won't drive this, she won't drive any of the other options. Just sayin'.

LAST THOUGHT - A SAFETY ISSUE: If you get blown about a lot, realize you have a pretty long bumper pull trailer...over 33'. That's a pretty big sail under any conditions. Fivers are, by their nature and the way they hitch up, MORE stable. You don't need a WDH with a fiver. But an even bigger fiver will not defy the laws of physics, and it WILL be an even bigger sail.

THE SAFETY ADVICE: Practice, practice, PRACTICE, trailer-only braking with the trailer brake controller. Do this until it's second nature. If the tail starts wagging the dog, ALWAYS use only the trailer brake controller to drag the trailer back in line and slow the whole mess. DO NOT apply the TV's brakes, because that will aggravate the wiggle. Remember, you may as well be a semi driver out there. In your case, you are driving a truck/trailer combo that's about 55 feet long and weights in at about 15,000 pounds! It's not a Honda Civic, and it needs to be driven with different skills and techniques. Learn and practice.

And go slowly in windy conditions. I just came out of the Lost Park Wilderness in "South Park" Colorado...yes, THAT South Park. There were 60 MPH crosswinds, and I drove on a 65 MPH rural highway at 45 MPH with the 4-ways on. I pulled over often to let others pass, but I took my time until I hit the trees at the top of Kenosha pass where I got some shelter from the wind. You can't expect to drive 55' of vehicle combo and 15,000 pounds without making adjustments. And changing rigs and TVs won't alter that.

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Old 10-30-2020, 03:19 PM   #11
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You might also want to take a look at some of the bridge units that incorporate class A and C features. The Thor ACE and FR FR3 lineup as well as the Thor Vegas/Axis lines and the Winnebago Intent and Fleetwood Flair might be worth a look as shorter A's with more like C driveability. There's always tradeoffs. We started looking at C's and ended up in our short Georgetown. While driving an A takes a little getting used to... the actual ride and vision and comfort is way better and you might find the captains chairs more amenable to longer drives.
Good luck with the decision making!
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:39 PM   #12
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Really: Do you want to spend an extra $25 to $35 a day for a rental car? Over your other cost for an RV and traveling. Also how are you going to get this rental car to and from the rental agency, you are not at an airport. You are usually out in the country at a campground away from the rental agency.

This is why my neighbor in his class C sat for a week at the campground, he thought that he could rent a car! It didn't happen. He could not find a rental agency that would drive and pick up the car to and from the campground.
As I said, not for everyone. Enterprise will come out. Some people do it, but I'm certainly not suggesting it for you.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:31 PM   #13
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My thought with my Class C for towing a toad: I'll break camp if going to see sights once or twice. It is pretty easy with a class C. In two years, we have never been anywhere where we couldn't park the RV to see stuff. However, if we went somewhere where we need a vehicle, I would rent. PU the rental yourself if they don't deliver. Considering all the adjustments and welding that would have to be for my Terrain, and tow bar, I had an estimate of $4,500 to tow. Then there is more wear on the Terrain, tires, more gas for the "C". and we can eat a meal in the RV and not an expensive restaurant trap. I can buy a lot of rental for $4,500. Again, it may or not work for you.
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Old 10-30-2020, 06:12 PM   #14
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Your sway problem could be a combination of tire issues and in properly adjusted trailer hitch. My 2019 F150 did not go as well as my 2014. Both had similar options. I changed my tires to E rated 10 ply tires And readjusted the hitch to the manufactures instructions. Theyíve got rid of about 95% of the sway problem. Are you still here get a little sway when is windy out.
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Old 10-31-2020, 12:16 PM   #15
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We bought a 30.5 ' Class C with 2 slides fully self contained. When compared to similar sized Class As it had more basement storage than most As its age.

Didnt start towing right away, wished I'd done it sooner. Renting works but a toad is convenient and flexible.

If I had it to do over again I would have towed since day 1.

Like you, my almost daily driver vehicle is flat towable. AWD GMC Acadia Denali.

I dont care about the toad setup costs or the decrease in mpg. My kids can inherit what's left of my portfolio in the meantime I'm having fun
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Old 10-31-2020, 12:54 PM   #16
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My thought with my Class C for towing a toad: I'll break camp if going to see sights once or twice. It is pretty easy with a class C. In two years, we have never been anywhere where we couldn't park the RV to see stuff. However, if we went somewhere where we need a vehicle, I would rent. PU the rental yourself if they don't deliver. Considering all the adjustments and welding that would have to be for my Terrain, and tow bar, I had an estimate of $4,500 to tow. Then there is more wear on the Terrain, tires, more gas for the "C". and we can eat a meal in the RV and not an expensive restaurant trap. I can buy a lot of rental for $4,500. Again, it may or not work for you.
AMEN... We previously had 2 Class A coaches. When we were staying in an area for an extended period, we called Enterprise... if they could not deliver, we stopped by the local office and picked up the car. A couple of campgrounds returned it for us as a courtesy.
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Old 10-31-2020, 02:47 PM   #17
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Your windy day issue is solved by a Pro-Pride hitch. Ask yourself if you would be doing this if Covid wasn't around. Before you spend money hand over fist make sure you are in it for the long haul. If your kids are happy with the trailer that is what is most important for now. In a couple of years there will be a huge market of RV's for sale from people who bought this year and decided RVing wasn't for them after all.
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Old 10-31-2020, 03:32 PM   #18
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Obviously when I go over in my head the list of everything we would want it doesnt exist (at least not in our budget).
So what are my options?
This might sound harsh, but why not keep the camper for another season and see if you can make it work for you? A better hitch will work to solve your sway problems. There is no perfect camper and every option you've listed is going to cost you a lot of money.
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Old 10-31-2020, 10:37 PM   #19
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I have been in a similar situation. My wife would not drive the truck let alone the trailer. The truck was a chore to drive towing and stressed me out and didnt want to go more than 3 hrs away. The difference was we loved our trailer. We looked at a smaller trailer or bigger truck and at the time we could not afford to take the bath on the trade 1yr into both.

I tuned the wdh over the next year and wind always made it bad no matter what. I adjusted my loads and made it work but still stressed and white knuckle driving was standard with any wind. As a last ditch to make it work longer I got a propride a month before our Yellowstone trip. It had a 60day money back guarantee so why not. It was a night and day difference towing and we immediately went to Yellowstone with a 12hr drive day after doing a short weekend test trip with the setup. Wow what a difference and so much more relaxing. Winds in Wyoming were not an issue (well headwinds still suck because of gas milage).

In the end I still had to move all sorts of things around from storage to make my rear axle weight. I pulled it with my F150 for another year using the propride once to Vermont, once to CO, and another trip to Memphis before getting an F350. We wanted to upgrade anyway and while the propride made driving easier I still had an 1 scare on our Vermont trip with 30mph cross winds. The F350 has made driving fun again with and without the trailer. It is my daily driver and I love it. We have looked at 5th wheels but have not found one we liked more than what we have. We also want more storage and a seperate bedroom for my teenage son but so far have kept the trailer we have. We are looking at toy haulers because it provides a room for him with a loft bunk option. Bunk houses work as well. I still use the propride with the 350.

The F350 still fits in the garage though I cannot walk around it. It is a foot longer than the 150 and only an inch wider at the mirrors. My commute is short but I still love the new truck. You do take a bath on the trade in so private sale is better than trade in.

I have taken the new truck on 4 long trips this year due to being able to work from anywhere with a cell signal and having to move things when my wife's grandmother died.

I did rent a smaller class A once before we got our trailer and winds did not make it any less stressful to drive than the f150 combo but the current trailer and my 350 means I don't care about loading and I am very relaxed driving. My wife would not drive a class C or class A so driving will remain my job for a while yet. I have not investigated a lot of class As but I don't see finding what you want in your current price range but I could be wrong...with a truck and trailer upgrade you may have similar price tags but you can space things out over a few years in pieces.

To me the math was 3k for a hitch, 20-30k for a new truck, or smaller trailer that would cost 8-10k in trade-in costs and upgrades. I started with the hitch, and was happy before changing the truck about 18mo later but we wanted to upgrade later anyway. A year later and I still have not changed the trailer and I have spaced things out to afford them better.

Good luck. I know what worked for us may not for you but you asked for opnions.
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Old 11-01-2020, 10:19 AM   #20
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Concur with the keep it for a little while thoughts.
Many buy a RV, use it like crazy the first year, less the second year, and then it gets hardly used. That’s a heckava fiscal hit.
Next camping trip, swing by a Cat Scale and get a full set of weights, truck & camper with WDH engaged, a reweigh with the spring bars removed, and reweigh the truck with the trailer parked. From that you can figure tongue weight, how much weight gets levered off the hitch and onto the truck front wheels and the trailer axles, & if everything is in specs. Yes, it’s a PITA to disconnect and reconnect the trailer, but the knowledge is worth it. Properly lock your coupler during this time.
BEFORE your next trip, walk through the WDH set up using its manual. The more your trailer and truck are loaded for camping, the better.
I was lucky my seller’s tech set my WDH about as perfect as possible for my Explorer. The V6 Explorer was just a weak pulling engine and we bought an F150 the next year. After going through the WDH, no adjustment needed. This spring after underslinging the trailer axle for 5.5” lift, I had to flip my WDH drawbar and reset my WDH. The trailer is small enough a WDH is not needed with the truck but with it, I have little fears from most winds.
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