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Old 06-27-2015, 05:03 PM   #1
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What size to buy?

My family and I are looking at purchasing our first camper and are kinda in a crossroads as to what would be the best size to purchase. Currently I have a 2006 Dodge Durango AWD with the 5.7 litre Hemi and 3.55 gears and I am unsure of the max tow capacity. I have been told that it would be about 8500lbs and I will be purchasing a equalizer hitch as well to make the coiled rear end stand up a little bit better. So I guess my question is can you help me verify this max tow and what model camper would you recommend

Thanks in advanced
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Old 06-27-2015, 05:39 PM   #2
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I say this a lot, a visit to the CAT Scale will show what your current weight is. The weight sticker on the driver's side "B" pillar will let you know what the GAWR is for front and rear. The difference between the Rear GAWR and the drive axle weight (from the scale) is how much more weight you can add. Assume about 100# for the hitch and the rest can be tongue weight. Let's say that number is 950#. Since the tongue is about 15% of the trailer's weight, that suggests a max trailer weight around 6300#. I have no way of knowing the actual numbers but hopefully you get my point. The scale will be about $10.
The CAT Scale is your friend.
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Old 06-27-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
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Forget the overall weight... you need to focus on max HITCH weight. Like RedHorse said, load up the family and gear you would pack in the truck and take it to a truck scale. Weigh your rig, then subtract that from your GVWR. That is your MAX HITCH WEIGHT.


Once you know that number, you can look at trailers. Remember though that manufacturers list a DRY hitch weight. Your trailer will be heavier with options and gear, therefore your hitch weight will be higher.


I would guess you will be looking at either a popup or a hybrid. A full box RV is a lot of weight for a smaller SUV. I would suggest you go to RV shows and look at popups and hybrids and see if they will work for your family. We have 3 yappy dogs, so we needed a full box RV so they don't hear everything outside and bark incessantly.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:31 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

All good advice - the CAT Scale is your friend

I suspect any trailer with a total weight of more than #5000 would be a serious challenge for your Durango.

There is a lot of good information on this in the Towing section of this forum

Good Luck!
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:38 PM   #5
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I guess I have a hard time understanding how a 1/2 ton suv with a v8 and heavy duty tow package would be limited to a pop up trailer or 5000 lbs my car hauler is 2500 lbs and loaded is well over 5000 and has never struggled with that but you guys have done the rv thing longer than I have so I guess I'll start with the scales
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:39 PM   #6
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Spoon is on it. A hybrid or PUP would probably be a good choice. As an example, our first TT was a hybrid (X23B). Max tow for the TV (Ford Expedition) was around 8000#. Our TT weighed around 4300# and our tongue was 620#. We were around 200# shy of the Max rear axle weight and only about half of what was supposed to be our max tow weight. IMHO the max tow weight is a worthless number.
I'll say it again: the CAT Scale is your friend.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:45 PM   #7
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Just for info, we had a 5.3L Silverado, 4:10 axle, and it was rated by GM to tow 8700#. Our TTwas 24', and loaded was about 6k, and it did a good job towing it.
But, there was more than one time when we were out West that I told the DW that I wouldn't want to have a 8700lb. trailer behind me. It may have done all right on flat level ground, but on some of those long grades I don't think it would have cut it.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:46 PM   #8
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I completely agree with previous posts regarding the CAT scale and weighing your specific vehicle. Here is a link to Chrysler's 2006 Durango specs. You can look up your specific trim level, engine and gears to get an idea of what your rig might be able to handle. The CAT scale will give you the final numbers though.

The trailer towing specs are on the last page. I see there is notation on that page that states the towing specs are only if equipped with the tow package - otherwise it's a max of 2000lbs tow capacity.

http://www.media.chrysler.com/dcxms/...ifications.pdf
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:53 PM   #9
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Thanks that helps a lot shows 8650 so I will check out scales when I get to work and see what those numbers work out to
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moparman View Post
I guess I have a hard time understanding how a 1/2 ton suv with a v8 and heavy duty tow package would be limited to a pop up trailer or 5000 lbs my car hauler is 2500 lbs and loaded is well over 5000 and has never struggled with that but you guys have done the rv thing longer than I have so I guess I'll start with the scales
Particularly with the 1/2 tons payload is almost always the limiting factor - many will never pull close to what their "max tow capacity" is because they don't have enough payload capability due to options added at the factory, by the dealer or by the owner. This is what the CAT scale will confirm for you - just how much tongue weight you can handle after you put everybody and everything into the tow vehicle.

I use 13% of the the trailers GVWR as rule of thumb for estimating the tongue weight of the trailer when loaded with gear - others recommend 15% for a little extra margin. So once you have the actual payload left for tongue weight it's pretty easy to see what the max GVWR for the trailer should be to stay within the limits.
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