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Old 04-07-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
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New to towing, have some questions

Hey all! My family goes camping quite a bit and we've decided that it's a good time to look into trailers. We're really interested in the 2014 Jay Feather SLX 16XRB but I'm not 100% sure our vehicle can tow it so I'm doing a bunch of research.

We have a 2013 Ford Explorer XLT with a class III tow package, up 5000 lbs and a hitch weight of 500 lbs. My GVWR is 6120 lbs. According to these specs:

Specification Description
Length 18'4"
Width 7'1"
Height 9'9"
Interior Height 6'6"
Hitch Weight 315 lbs
Dry Weight 2,575 lbs
Gross Weight 3,500 lbs
Cargo Weight 925 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity 26 gals
Grey Water Capacity 15 gals
Black Water Capacity 9 gals
Sleeps Up To 6
Interior Color Harvest

It would appear that my vehicle would be ok to tow this trailer, but in my research, it appears there's more #'s (as in weight) I need to take in consideration. Is it pretty cut & dry as far as weights go ie. the trailer is 3500 lbs and my max is 5000 lbs therefore I would be good to go or is there something else I need to look into? Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:38 PM   #2
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The only issue I have comes from experience with Explorers but eariler ones than yours. Short wheel-based vehicles need the best sway control hitches. Sway tends to transfer into the vehicle more when the wheel base is reduced.

As far as additional weight goes that's up to you. How many people in the vehicle. You can pull the TT dry (no water) but you will need stuff for camping, how much depends on you. You can make an estimate and then go back and do the numbers.

You in the truck and nothing in the trailer and you are good to go. How much you intend to change that by adding people and stuff is something you need to work out.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:54 PM   #3
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With that tow vehicle I would highly recommend a pop up camper. You will be able to tow that with family and gear with no problem. Had one for years that I pulled with my S-10 Blazer. Not a bad way to camp at all. Sometimes I miss that little trailer.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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Thanks.

@Mike - Well with passengers and cargo in the vehicle, I'm estimating an additional 700lbs. As far as cargo in the trailer, I have no idea. We don't have much, but I'm well aware that as time goes on, we'd find stuff to pack into the trailer that we'd like to take camping with us.

@Bob - I was also looking at pop ups and the weights on some of them are about the same. Of course we're looking at the ones we "want", so, back to the drawing board looking for something lighter lol

Thanks again guys!
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
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I would say that in almost ever case I can remember, when somone is adding up the numbers to see how much TT they can tow with current vehicle, they end up with a bigger truck soon after they purchase the TT. Then they decide they can now pull a bigger camper and......you see the circle of lost money here. One day you are straining to pull a small camper and the next day the big diesel looks odd pulling the little camper......

The reason a popup even of the same weight might be a better choice is wind resistance and lower center of gravity. They pull very different from a 9 foot camper.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by thestrangebrew View Post
snip...... the trailer is 3500 lbs and my max is 5000 lbs therefore I would be good to go or is there something else I need to look into? Thanks.
Welcome to JOF

Just a couple of things to be aware of:

* The "loaded" tongue weight is subtracted for your TV's "available" payload capacity (TV supports tongue weight).

* Recommended "loaded" tongue weight to be 10% to 15% of a trailer's actual or estimated "loaded" weight.

* Published TV Tow Ratings aren't "actual": https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f37/what-is-my-actual-tow-rating-3866.html

* Jayco published UVW's are not ship weights, refer to yellow sticker on the trailer for actual UVW (ship weight is heavier, amount depends on model).

Often a TV may have an attractive Tow Rating, but in many cases it's the limited (or available) Payload Capacity that limits the size/weight of the trailer selection.

If you want to minimize the guesswork, take your Explorer to a CAT scale (easy process, $9) and weigh it under "loaded" conditions (full fuel, passengers, cargo). Subtract the CAT scale weight from the GVWR noted on your TV's driver's door, the remaining weight (payload capacity) is what you have for a trailer's "loaded" tongue weight and any other weight not account for at the CAT scale.

Hope this helps.

Bob
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:57 PM   #7
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As said above, a pop up will pull so much easier than a TT with your rig. Just passing on my experience's through the years. We started with a trailer that fit our towing abilities, and worked up from there.
I will also add that for the most part, a pop up is quite a bit cheaper than most TT's. Again, from my experience, your first trailer will very likely not be your last. The more you use it, the more you will learn what you want to get when you step up to your 2nd trailer. Pretty soon you are shopping again. And so on and on and on........ I know that those of you who have been RV'ers for a while know exactly what I'm talking about.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:13 PM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's insights, I really do appreciate it. Safety, not only for my family, but also for others on the road is my utmost concern, which is why I've been doing research and asking questions. These are all good points to consider and read up on and I'm very glad I joined up and asked!
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bobx2 View Post
As said above, a pop up will pull so much easier than a TT with your rig. Just passing on my experience's through the years. We started with a trailer that fit our towing abilities, and worked up from there.
I will also add that for the most part, a pop up is quite a bit cheaper than most TT's. Again, from my experience, your first trailer will very likely not be your last. The more you use it, the more you will learn what you want to get when you step up to your 2nd trailer. Pretty soon you are shopping again. And so on and on and on........ I know that those of you who have been RV'ers for a while know exactly what I'm talking about.
Are you recommending a PUP due to the weight of them or because their lower center of gravity and less wind resistant? Just curious because we also looked at a PUP but it's GVWR is 3230lbs.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:35 PM   #10
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I'll present a different point of view. You did right by looking at the GVWR of the trailer. When all is said and done, its best to plan on the max weight you will be towing. Over the years I have towed twice at very close to my limits. Each time for a year or so. Its very doable if you plan carefully and understand your limits. Unless there is something I'm missing here, you are not at your limits. I think you have more than enough margin.

You haven't said how many are in your family. That's important. As the kids grow, so will your needs change. Usually that more trailer and more truck to pull it with.

Yet, a pop-up is fine! We used one for 10 years. Then we got a small hybrid and used that for 10 years. No reason to hop on the "upgrade" bandwagon every time someone says you should. There's a lot to be said for not having payments after you've had something for a while. Fun can be had with a tent, so do what's best for your family, for your wallet, and for your comfort and safety.
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