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Old 09-21-2017, 10:48 AM   #1
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New Guy With New Guy Questions

Hi There!

I'm new, dumb and kinda lazy. Now that we got the honest part out of the way.

We are interested in the a Jayco TT, most likely a lite series. Family of 4 with two on the way! So while we are thinking lite we will need as much room as possible.

My concern, problem, question is we have a vehicle that we absolutely love. Its also paid off so thats awesome too! But we are not quite sure if it what size ( dry weight ) of TT it could tow. Or if we should give up on it since its a SUV and look for a truck with higher tow capabilities.

We have sadly been to two dealers in my area. One didn't even look at the vehicle just said the towing guide says 6k lbs it will "tow anything!". The second place had a " tow specialist " and they looked at the numbers online + in the door jam read the labels then told me something similar as the first guy it will tow anything up to 5k lbs.

I am not familiar with figuring this out, but I do not trust the dealers just because I know their gig at the end of the day is to sell me something. So I thought to come here and ask.

Looking online myself I realize I am going to most likely need to install :
- Electronic brake controller
- weight distor
- airlift helper bags
* I said most likely bc other places online I've read mention these are great ideas.

Heres the TV info :

2009 Nissan Pathfinder V6 SE 4x4 with a factory installed two package and a factory trans cooler.

* Ive attached 3 pics of the labels within the door jam on this vehicle. I realize they aren't amazing pics.

The Tongue weight for a v6 pathfinder = 600lbs

The Combined weight of occupants, cargo shouldn't exceed = 1102 lbs

GVWR = 6113lbs

Again looking online and what I found on how to calculate this all I was thinking we might be more then fine with a TT that doesn't exceed a dry weight of 3500lbs. Please though correct me if I'm wrong.

Any help, guidance welcomed!
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:47 PM   #2
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While I'm no expert by any means, it looks like you're going to run out of payload in the TV real fast with a TT weighing 5K#.

If the TW is just 10% and (it's really closer to 12-15%) that's 500# of your 1102# of the TV capacity.
A trailer in the 3500# may be more practical and definitely safer for you and your growing family.
Good Luck with your decision.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:49 PM   #3
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First off, congrats on the growing family. I would browse the Trailer Life tow guides for your model, transmission and axle ratio. Your factory hitch / receiver may be a class rating of 5k or 3,500k, verify that limit. Trailers at 5k often pull fine without a weight distributing hitch. There are specification tables in Jayco brochures so you know how to find a camper within your limits and still sleep six of you down the road. Good luck shopping for what makes sense for you.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:11 PM   #4
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There are many here who can help you do the calculations. But let me say you are smart to post the stickers and ask first. It will save you heartache down the road. There are good dealers out there who are honest. They are just far and few between.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:17 PM   #5
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The thing that's going to get you with that vehicle is the payload. With only 1100 lbs of payload, and 6 bodies (and all the "stuff" that comes with those bodies), you'll run out FAST. Also remember that cargo capacity doesn't include items that have been added since the vehicle left the factory. For example, I had to add a receiver to my wife's XTerra back in the day, that took about 50 lbs right off the top of the listed payload figure.

In your case, with my family, add the weight distribution hitch, 500 lbs of tongue weight, we'd be over for sure. We'd almost be over with just the two of us, not counting our one 3YO son and his car seat. And as has already been mentioned, 500 lbs tongue weight on a 5000lb trailer is not very good; too light a tongue tends to create instability.

Also remember that all those "things" you listed (brake controller, weight distribution ...) do not contribute to the payload or towing capacity of your vehicle. They simply make the load safer/easier to handle. I put supplemental springs on the rear leaf springs on my last truck knowing full well that my payload capacity would not increase, but they DID allow me better control in a maximum load situation.

I'm certainly not going to say it can't be done with the Pathfinder, but given the weight constraints you have, and the size of your family, your options will be few.

I've played a weak hand in the payload game, and I can tell you it's no fun.

ETA: Try this on for size: estimate how much your family weighs with everything they need to ride in the vehicle (or take the clan to a scale with a full tank of fuel, subtract that from the GVWR of the Pathfinder and that will be your actual payload capacity), add 50 lbs for a weight distribution hitch. Subtract that figure from 1100 (or whatever you get from a trip to the scale) and divide the result by .15. This will give you the weight of trailer you can theoretically tow with 15% on the tongue. If you think you can realistically get closer to 12 or 13%, then divide by those. I probably wouldn't go less than 12%.

Example: you have 500 lbs of payload remaining, 500/.15 gives you 3,333. That's the weight of trailer you could theoretically tow. I would use your weight result for GVWR on the trailer. So, using the figure above I'd be looking for something with a GVWR of about 3300 lbs.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:20 PM   #6
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First rule of thumb when looking at trailers is to ignore the "dry" weight. It's a fictional number based on the weight of a base level trailer with no options installed. Things like A/C, awning, microwave, etc. are not factored into the "dry weight". Shipped weight is more accurate and you will find it on a yellow sticker on the outside of the trailer and inside one of the cabinet doors.

More important is what you put in it, your "stuff". The number to go by is the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). That's the max the trailer can weigh. Ready to camp you'll be closer to that number than the published "dry" weight.

All that said, family of 4 with 2 on the way? That Pathfinder is not going to cut it for anything longer than short trips. That said trailers you are looking at should not exceed 3500# GVWR, not dry weight. If a trailer has a 3500# dry weight then likely it's going to 4500-4700# or better loaded.

You may also end up exceeding your 1100# payload. Say your family weighs a conservative total of 450#. The weight of your hitch is about 100#. The tongue weight of a 3500# trailer is on average about 455#. That's a total of 1005#, only 95# left of things you can put in your vehicle. And that's this year. Your kids grow and gain weight. Add another 100# next year. If your trailer weighs 5000# ready to camp your tongue weight could be 650#. Now you are over.

In my mind you have two things to consider, a bigger more capable tow vehicle, or a pop-up camper. Which BTW can be tons of fun for the kids. We had one for 10 years and loved every minute of it.

EDIT: Camper Bob beat me to the payload comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post

I've played a weak hand in the payload game, and I can tell you it's no fun.
I'll second that. Towing close to your capacity is doable, but far better to have excess capacity available.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:31 PM   #7
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Sure, you can tow a decent sized trailer IF you intend to send the family in a second vehicle. The biggest issue I see is the payload capacity of the SUV. With two adults and four (rapidly) growing kids, plus child seats etc, and any gear you plan to load into the back of the SUV, you will probably not have much left in payload to handle the tongue weight and WD hitch weight too.

I'll offer up my example. I have 2012 Traverse SUV with 5200 lb tow capacity and 1600lb payload; similar specs to yours. We tow an X19H hybrid which tips the scale at about 4600lb loaded (it is 3615 dry) and has a tongue weight of 680lbs loaded (just under 15%). With the wife, two teen kids, and very little cargo in the SUV I am about 150 lbs shy of GVWR for the truck, just reaching the rear GAWR (about 5 lbs below). I have very little room for any more.

Looking at your numbers, you have 2 more kids, and 500 lbs less payload, so an X19H might actually be a bit too heavy for you. I would probably be looking at a smaller 16-17' SLX model if you want to stay in the current vehicle.

The problem of moving to a bigger pickup would be passenger seats; where are you going to put 4 kids? You might consider a full size SUV like a Yukon, Sequoia or similar to fit all the kids and a bigger TT.

The one thing that neither of your dealers seemed to ask you was "how much weight are you already carrying in the Tow Vehicle", and that is the capacity killer right there.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
snip

The problem of moving to a bigger pickup would be passenger seats; where are you going to put 4 kids? You might consider a full size SUV like a Yukon, Sequoia or similar to fit all the kids and a bigger TT.

snip
Ya, and then you're talking some serious $$$$. My dad just bought his "retirement" vehicle. A 2016 (?) Suburban LT that had like 30K miles on it. Brace yourself; $50,000! Ya, it's a nice truck though...
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
Ya, and then you're talking some serious $$$$. My dad just bought his "retirement" vehicle. A 2016 (?) Suburban LT that had like 30K miles on it. Brace yourself; $50,000! Ya, it's a nice truck though...
Yea I'm trying to avoid having to buy a new TV because my Pathfinder is paid off and it only has 80k miles on it. We would be just going across Ca, not really going into deep snow or super far off roading with it. This is why I thought hey it may work.

But from the sound of the advice I could get away with towing with it but it would be pretty close to the payload being maxed out/over. Another option is a Class C RV, they are cheaper used out here. Almost the same costs as a TT. Definitely some more thinking to do here. Appreciate the advice folks.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:38 PM   #10
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If we did go for another TV I'd probably buy a used truck off of Craigs solely for the purpose of towing.

I would imagine a decent tv would be a 2000-2002 ext cab Silverado 1500 LT/Z71 v8. Seems like they have a bit more capabilities and you can get them a dime a dozen for less then 10k.
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