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Old 10-22-2010, 07:41 PM   #1
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Why I am NOT going to buy a Rockwood!

Last week I was all set to buy either a new Rockwood 8317SS or a Flagstaff 831QBSS. Lucky for me, one of the forum members pointed out to me that my tow vehicle's receiver wouldn't handle the 948 lb. "dry" tongue weight because the "actual" tongue weight of the trailer (including propane, battery and WD hitch) would be nearly 1300 lbs. Sadly, my receiver was only legal up to 1000 lbs. When I asked the two RV dealers that I was getting prices from about that, they both told me "oh, sorry, we missed that"!!! They told me not to worry about it, and to just offset the extra load to the rear of the trailer. When I reminded them that the 1300 lb. weight DID NOT include any cargo below the bed or in the trailer's front storage area (which I figured will be about 500 lbs.) I asked them how can I offset 800 lbs. to the back of the trailer? I reminded them that it would take almost 2-1/2 lbs. at the back to offset every 1 lb. of weight at the tongue because of the distance from the fulcrum, which meant that I'd have to put 2000 lbs. in the back of the trailer just to offset the 800 lbs. at the tongue. They then dismissed me as being "too analytical" and told me that everyone runs with a heavy tongue. Finally, I called and left messages for the Rockwood Rep. and with two of their engineers that were supposedly going to be able answer my questions and solve my problem. I waited for a week with NO call back. Finally I was told by one of the dealers that I had too many questions and that I should either take their word for everything, or they couldn't do business with me. I laughed at that remark, and basically told them to kiss my a##. WARNING: Before you buy a trailer (ANY trailer) make them weigh you tongue with a Scale, and make sure that your propane tanks are full, battery is installed, and you've got cargo in the storage areas. If the scale shows a weight that exceeds the legal limit of your receiver, DON'T tow it, because if you get into an accident because of a failed receiver, guess who the insurance company is going to blame ... YOU!!! Thanks for listening to my rant ... hope it helps you avoid a problem.
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:48 PM   #2
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Buyer beware!

Caveat emptor.

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Old 10-22-2010, 09:05 PM   #3
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Hey, when I purchased my trailer the had installed the wrong spring bars on my hitch and the hitch head was not torque to spec!
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:11 PM   #4
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Agree buyer beware

Spend some time on the RV.net board and learn about weights. Make sure your truck is big enough/capacities before thinking of purchasing. Make sure you know how to read the weights full/empty. Make sure you remember to add weight for batteries, propane, front end storage etc. Then make sure on your truck to add for people, fuel, what you are carrying for gear. Start adding it all together then go look at your hitch and truck and make sure numbers add up plus adding for the extras. Yes the dealer may not have been straight but don't blame FR for what happened. As mentioned buyer beware.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:53 PM   #5
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I absolutely DO blame FR for the problem!

I absolutely DO blame FR for the problem! As I mentioned in my opening statement:

"Finally, I called and left messages for the Rockwood Rep. and with two of their engineers that were supposedly going to be able answer my questions and solve my problem. I waited for a week with NO call back."

If FR wanted to provide me with the facts, they had a week to do so, and perhaps even save the deal. I figure it this way: if they don't have time for me BEFORE I give them my money, they sure as hell won't care about me AFTER.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:15 AM   #6
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Geez- one unreturned call and you're ready to lynch the whole organization! Your post says you left messages, did you actually talk to anyone? And if ya did and you were as snide as you seem here it's no wonder they didn't call you back. Think maybe the guy could have been tied up with something else, been stuck at an Rv show or maybe even been on vacation? Why not try another call and see if there was a reason they didn't get back to you. And would agree, you really found a bonehead for a dealer.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:48 AM   #7
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James3, it looks like you have done your homework, are aware of the limitations of your hitch, and won't let the dealer push you around. Kudos. IMHO, more people should walk away from misinformed dealers.

After 1 salesman said I could pull any trailer in his lot with my F150, I walked away from that dealer.

Maybe try the Rockwood Rep a few more times just to give him another chance to respond ??
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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James 3, if you were going to that much over your hitch capacity wouldn't you also be over on all weights. As I see it "you got your heart set on the perfect trailer for your family/wants that is larger than you tow vehicle can handle."

Sorry for your disappointment but such is life.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:06 PM   #9
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Buy the trailer already!!
Then when you find out you can't pull it safely or up any size hill,
go out and get a bigger truck.
It's the American way!
(been there done that......)
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:43 PM   #10
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Travel Trailer Weight Calculator

I still say this is the best calculator of safe camper size going.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:22 PM   #11
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Don't forget that all of the TV specifications that are listed DO have safety factors built into them. I currently have a 2010 8317SS and it tows fantastic behind my Excursion with a PSD. I'm using an older style Reese Dual Cam with 1000 pound torsion bars and I have no problems now that my hitch is set right.

As for your dealer...I search for another Rockwood dealer.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Vizslas View Post
Don't forget that all of the TV specifications that are listed DO have safety factors built into them.
I have heard this same argument from pilots talking about aircraft limits. Yes, you can over G an aircraft without dying. Sometimes more than once. However it may not be you flying the aircraft when the wings do come off (and they will).

The "safety factor" you speak of is called "life expectancy."

The design load factor is based on the expected useful life of the vehicle at that load factor. You can exceed that load factor and it will reduce the life expectancy by some amount. That amount is reduced exponentially by the size of the overload.

These stresses are also cumulative. (Like work hardening a paper clip)

One big one can cause the wings to come off right away. Many small ones will make the wings come off at some future time (usually without warning).

Yes, you can drive down the road with a triple load of rocks in the bed; maybe more than once. Eventually, most likely on the way to the market, the axle will fall out of the truck.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:09 AM   #13
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I agree with HERK

HERK, I am also a Pilot (I've been Instrument-Rated since 1980) and we've all heard the old saying "that there are old pilots and their are bold pilots, but there are NO old-bold pilots". I don't know how many times I've been told (mostly by salesmen!!!) that I am over analytical and that I should trust their # years of experience. Well, personally, I don't like exceeding the so-called "built-in margins" unless I am in an emergency situation. I find it appalling how many people are out there driving their RV's in over-loaded condition. Besides endangering the lives of their own loved ones, what about the other innocents?
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:34 AM   #14
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Just to throw my hat into the fray, FR does provide you with all the info you need to figure out whether you can tow one of their RV's. You don't need to talk to an engineer (however, one should call you back). It's called the GVWR. If you use that number to base all your calculations from instead of the dry weight you'll be well within the limits of your combination. Just figure 12% TW off the GVWR and you'll know if your TV will handle it.

As for the dealer, there should be some kind of liability on their part for making sure the RV and TV matches, even if it's just a paper for you to sign saying you plan on towing said RV with X vehicle. The best scenario is to make them liable if you leave the lot towing something without the proper vehicle.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
Just to throw my hat into the fray, FR does provide you with all the info you need to figure out whether you can tow one of their RV's. You don't need to talk to an engineer (however, one should call you back). It's called the GVWR. If you use that number to base all your calculations from instead of the dry weight you'll be well within the limits of your combination. Just figure 12% TW off the GVWR and you'll know if your TV will handle it.

As for the dealer, there should be some kind of liability on their part for making sure the RV and TV matches, even if it's just a paper for you to sign saying you plan on towing said RV with X vehicle. The best scenario is to make them liable if you leave the lot towing something without the proper vehicle.
Bama I think we will just agree, to disagree here. While the maximum tow-able weight (of the camper) is posted by the manufacturer, you still can not exceed the individual axle limits or the maximum gross vehicle weight on the truck. In my example, the manufacturer says I can safely tow a maximum of over 15,000 pounds with my SW GMC 2500 with diesel engine. Yet my tow vehicle is grossed out at 9200 pounds with a 9,300 pound 5th wheel camper due to the pin weight added to the truck's weight. My tow vehicle's gross weight is hit BEFORE my rear axle limit or the camper's weight.

As to the dealer certifying what you will do with that camper after you drag it off the lot? How will he know how much junk you are going to put in it or where you intend to drive it. Safely making it up and down I-95 is one thing, driving up the ALCAN is quite another.

The first time I loaded up my camper with "just might needs" I confidently headed over to the CAT scale and shocked myself half to death. The truck pulled the load just fine. Yet I not only overloaded the camper by over 1000 pounds, the truck was way over too.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:43 AM   #16
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I think we completely agree on it.
My statement meant that you should use the GVWR of the RV to base the calculations of whether your TV could safely tow it. You still have to know all the limits of your TV in order to make sure you don't exceed one. My point is that using the dry weight really tells you nothing because you're always going to exceed that and most people will be very close to the GVWR ,if not over, when loaded (as witnessed by your last statement).

The only thing having the dealer certify the setup does is stops them from telling you that your TV can tow anything on the lot and makes the buyer aware of the possibility of overloading. You can borrow a vehicle from a friend and go pick it up your new camper and then hook it to your '63 rambler once you get home but at least you're made aware that a dangerous situation could exist.

And since you brought up the "overloaded camper" scenario. I fully believe in having your RV and TV weighed fully loaded and ready to camp so that you are fully aware of any loading issues you may have. You should also re-weigh it anytime you make a significant change to the load.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:47 AM   #17
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Bingo!

Nicely said.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
I think we completely agree on it.
My statement meant that you should use the GVWR of the RV to base the calculations of whether your TV could safely tow it. You still have to know all the limits of your TV in order to make sure you don't exceed one. My point is that using the dry weight really tells you nothing because you're always going to exceed that and most people will be very close to the GVWR ,if not over, when loaded (as witnessed by your last statement).

The only thing having the dealer certify the setup does is stops them from telling you that your TV can tow anything on the lot and makes the buyer aware of the possibility of overloading. You can borrow a vehicle from a friend and go pick it up your new camper and then hook it to your '63 rambler once you get home but at least you're made aware that a dangerous situation could exist.

And since you brought up the "overloaded camper" scenario. I fully believe in having your RV and TV weighed fully loaded and ready to camp so that you are fully aware of any loading issues you may have. You should also re-weigh it anytime you make a significant change to the load.
I do not agree with this thinking at all. my TT has a 4000lb ccc. dry weight is 7100lbs and gvwr is 11,200lbs. going by the GVWR I couldn`t pull my TT with my X. my trailer loaded and ready for travel weighs in at 9100lbs +/- 100lbs. yes I weighed it! and the TW is 1200lbs.

to the OP, you have to load the trailer properly! you`re taking this isuue way to far and making it bigger than it needs to be. find a suitable hitch that`s able to fit on a `10 E350 V-10 and be done with it!
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
My point is that using the dry weight really tells you nothing because you're always going to exceed that and most people will be very close to the GVWR ,if not over, when loaded (as witnessed by your last statement).
I agree that dry weight is a poor indicator.
It's better than nothing until you get a chance to
weigh your new rig LOADED.
I agree that everyone should have their loaded trailer
weighed ASAP when it's new and if they've made big
changes in what they carry.
Around this part of the country truck scales are available
at truck fuel stops and easy to use.

I disagree with your statement that
"most people will be very close to the GVWR ,if not over, when loaded".

My trailer weighs in LOADED and ready to camp with
food, water, gear etc at less than 4500 LBS.
Add a 500 LB motorcycle and a couple of fairly slim middle age passengers and I'm still comfortably below my trucks
Cargo capacity of 8000 LBS.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:30 PM   #20
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Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just not their own facts.

I believe that exceeding the manufacturer's stated maximum weights, no matter how safe you think that is, will cause you trouble in the long run (maybe even the short run).
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