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Old 09-13-2013, 10:07 AM   #1
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OK now I'm thoroughly confused (RE: Dodge RAM weight thread)

I didn't want to hijack the other guy's thread, but he and others raised a lot of concerns I thought I had put to rest. Based on reading here and on PUX, I've become very cautious about TV/TT combinations for our future. As background, we're contemplating an upgrade from our 1007 PUP to a larger PUP (1206/1208), a small hybrid (17, 19H), or large hybrid (Starcraft version of the defunct X23J). One requirement: no U-shaped dinette in front of forward bed...we're tired of crawling over it to get into bed.

Going forward, even though my username is raising4daughters, 2 are 19-20 and don't camp with us and another is almost 16, so we don't have much time left with her. 4th child is 6. Even with the 16 y/o and a friend, we're under 600 pounds in passenger weight (my wife and kids are petite and I'm no lineman). Since we generally don't go more than 150-200 miles away from home, I'm not adverse to taking a 2nd vehicle on the trip if the 16, 19, or 20 y/o come along to stay within payload limits.

If/when we upgrade, if we go with the larger PUP or small hybrid, our plan has been to buy a used Dodge Dakota with a V8. It'll be mostly used by one of teen drivers who fancies herself a country girl and wants to drive a small PU. The Dakota with the V8 seems to fill her needs and our TV needs 2-3 weeks per year. I noticed the Laramie editions of the Dakota drop payload by 200 pounds so I was planning to stay away from that. I'd consider a Tacoma or Frontier, but really want the V8 power in a compact PU, and that leaves me with the Dakota. Not a fan of the Colorado.

If we go with the larger hybrid (or even small TT), we've decided we'll need a full-size SUV (Expy or Tahoe) or 1/2-ton Truck (1500, F150, etc). Possibly the Durango but only with we went with an X20E. It'll be the wife's vehicle so she's weighing the options.

I realize this is all theoretical and actual weights are needed, but I figured these plans were giving us a pretty good cushion to work with, much better than our Town&Country without the tow package hauling our 1007.

Sanity check? The other thread spooked me in a bad way.....New TV purchase could be in the Spring, and we'll probably get the TV a year or two before upgrading the camper, so I'm starting homework this fall and winter.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:45 AM   #2
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I had a Tacoma TRD Sport, pulled my Coleman Bayside like there was nothing back there. I got the x20e and the Tacoma was not happy. Too much tonge weight combined with trying to pull a brick wall of wind resistance back there. She was bouncing all over and scremeing up hills. I quickly had to decide which was going -- my Tacoma or the x20e. As you can see from my signature, the x20e stayed.

I was surpised when I took the Tundra/x20e combo to the scales....I was still overweight on the rear alxe on the Tundra (even with the WDH). Ended up having to pack differently, as I still had an extra 1,000 of wiggle room on the trailer axle. These 1/2 ton trucks are good, got plenty of power, but they don't have the weight rating for some of the larger trailers. As have been mentioned on many posts, the scales are your friend to learn how to pack properly, so that you are within the limits of your vechicle. Short trips you can probably get away with being slightly over, but longer trips you don't want to damage your truck, trailer or have/cause an accident.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
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Very wise to go about this with a plan. Something I didn't do a good enough job of the first time. I tried to match TT to an existing TV, compromised on the TT to make it fit -- but the fit was still marginal considering at the time I had a wife, 2 kids and 2 large dogs all in the TV with us. After a couple mountain trips I decided a new TV was in order. Well guess what, I now have the TV I should have originally and am looking to upgrade TT in the next year or so. Looking back, I should have simply upgraded TV right away and gone the TT we wanted to begin with. Oh well, I chalk it up to you don't know what you don't know.

IMO todays vehicles its cargo weight that seems to be the issue. Tow rating and GCVWR are typically sufficient enough, but it’s the TT TW that is being carried by the TV that gets folks. Also, if looking at smaller pickups and SUVs pay close attention to the receiver rating; sometimes they have class II or Class III receivers which limit your TV abilities too.

As for cargo weight, you need to take into consideration all the stuff you will have in the TV when you are taking a trip. This not only includes people/pets, tongue weight, hitch weight but also any extra's you have. Where are you carrying firewood, generator, extra fuel, bikes, coolers, any items passengers want in the truck with them; it adds up quickly.

If I was in your shoes, knowing what I know now, you have to start with what’s more important to you and your family -- the vehicle that will also be a daily driver or the RV? Once you make that decision you go forward with matching the other...there will be tradeoffs.

Assume for instance it’s the TV that matters more. Once you purchase it, go weigh it loaded and ready to go to see how much cargo capacity you have remaining. Once you have that it’s pretty easy to see which HTT/PUP will work for you situation.

If it's the TT that matters more, first thing you need to do is ignore published dry weights and tongue weights. Rather you should look for the sticker on the actual unit you would be purchasing then make reasonable estimates to how much weight you will add as you stock up the trailer. Otherwise you can reach out to other folks with the same TT and see what their actual weights are. In the worst case, you match the TT to the TV using the TT GVWR and 15% to Tongue Weight.

It seems daunting, but in reality it is very easy. The hard part comes with the compromises you have to make. IMO this is where most folks go wrong. They don't want make the compromise and start listening to RV Salesmen & Car Salesmen telling this it’s no problem and talk them into a bad combination.

Lastly, I am in the camp if you can't safely run your combination on the interstate highways at 55+ MPH or on mountain grades then it’s also not safe for short trips on the back roads. Somehow I'm seeing a trend that folks get into the bad combinations, figure it out, and decide that it will be OK since they are only towing short distances from home on the back roads --- that is bad logic.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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One more thing...often smaller SUVs and Pickup trucks spec a max frontal area. Pay attention to this too, pulling a flat trailer with lots of weight it diffent than pulling a big box though the air.
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:06 PM   #5
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Go with a half ton, and you will never have to worry about towing a popup/hybrid. The prices and mileage are so close to the mid-size trucks that they almost makes no sense. With a Dakota, it's not even that much smaller than a half ton. Tell her real country girls drive real trucks.
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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I have the Dakota Quad Cab (SLT model), 4x4 with the 18” wheels, with the factory tow package. The Dakota pulls our 23B with absolutely no issues, it is almost like it is not back there. We did go out west this summer, no real issues with elevated engine temperatures, generally plenty of power. There were a few places where I was floored and could not do the speed limit. For example we went over Powder Horn pass (just west of Buffalo WY). That was one of a few spots where 40-45 was the max speed, and no one ever came up behind me until I meet up with a few other others.

If you are not going to the mountains regularly, I would be completely comfortable with the Dakota. What I do not like about the Dakota is the fuel tank size. It is only 22 gallons. If I keep the speed down to 55 mph, I get about 12.5+ mpg, if I am doing 60mph, with the AC on I am down to about 9+ mpg. The lowest I have seen on the computer is about 8.25 mpg. I recorded the mileage and fuel consumption this summer, but did not do the calculations yet to see how we did overall.

I have never been on the scales yet, so I cannot tell you if I am properly loaded.
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clubhouse View Post
IMO todays vehicles its cargo weight that seems to be the issue. Tow rating and GCVWR are typically sufficient enough, but its the TT TW that is being carried by the TV that gets folks. Also, if looking at smaller pickups and SUVs pay close attention to the receiver rating; sometimes they have class II or Class III receivers which limit your TV abilities too.
Clubhouse - yes, thanks for all the good advice. This statement above is the lesson I took from the prior thread where the guy's Dodge RAM 1500 Laramie left him 400+ pounds for gear. I was absolutely stunned.

I drive a lot of miles and need to get an econo-car when my minivan (current TV) is no longer tow worthy (6-24 months, I figure). We can't retrofit my wife's minivan as we did mine since we bought the lifetime bumper-to-bumper warranty for hers, so we need a new TV. That's OK because we're adding a 5th driver in 4-6 months anyway, so she lucks out.

Based on exchanges with Jagiven and others, the Dakota seemed like a no-brainer for our PUP and even a larger PUP or small hybrid. Plus, they seem plentiful around here. Jagiven is towing an X23B with his, but if we go large HTT, it won't be a 23B because we hate the dinette in front of the front bed in our 1007, so we'd go the even-heavier X23J route. For that, if that's what the DW wants, I told her and DD we'd have to get the half-ton.

Now I see even that assumption might be flawed. I always assumed that a half-ton was my no-brainer TV plan for the next 10-12 years.....bite the bullet, drive the bigger truck, but tow a PUP or hybrid to my heart's content for the next 12-15 years (at which point, wife and I want to retire and get a one-ton and 5er). It never even dawned on me that a half-ton might not have the payload for ourselves and our gear plus the TW of a trailer. I figured I had a huge cushion.

I think we're going to weigh our current TV before and after packing to see what we pack. We don't pack light, that's for sure, and right now it's all in the TV because the 1007 PUP has little room to load. That's partly what we're hoping for with a 1206/1208 PUP with the front storage compartment....to take load off the TV.

I'm still pretty well convinced that the Dakota and even more convinced a half-ton will do the job for us, but man, oh man, did that Laramie horror story give me pause. I cannot imagine dropping $35-40k (maybe more) on a TV only to learn it won't do the job. My heart goes out to him.

Oh, and thanks to Jagiven for the point on the small fuel tank on the Dakota. I struggle with that on the minivan. We get 13-14 mpg with the minivan pulling a little 1007 PUP and we've got a 20 gallon tank, so some of our lengthier trips need better planning. But, for most, 22 gallon will be fine, but a point worth considering for sure.


Thanks to everyone for the input and education. I haven't been looking at the whole picture.
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:03 PM   #8
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Personally, I'd go with a half ton pickup if you are looking at something like the X23B or J. You should be fine with the payload on most of them. The larger wheelbase will make for a much better towing experience.

Unless you are stuck on Jayco, you may want to check out the Starcraft 229TB, one of the reasons we went with this over the 23B was the U dinette, I also dont like crawling over them. We have a U shaped dinette that is just about the same size but is on the side of the trailer, so we can get into the bunk w/out crawling over it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:08 PM   #9
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Don't count all half tons in the same boat as the new RAM 1500. The coil spring rear really hurt the cargo carrying capacity. If you're looking half ton, then look elsewhere.

My Titan has a GVWR of 7200, and weighs 5462 with a full tank of gas. That's a pretty hefty payload capacity for a half ton.
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:18 PM   #10
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Personally, I'd go with a half ton pickup if you are looking at something like the X23B or J. You should be fine with the payload on most of them. The larger wheelbase will make for a much better towing experience.

Unless you are stuck on Jayco, you may want to check out the Starcraft 229TB, one of the reasons we went with this over the 23B was the U dinette, I also dont like crawling over them. We have a U shaped dinette that is just about the same size but is on the side of the trailer, so we can get into the bunk w/out crawling over it.
Thanks. Yes, we like the Starcraft 227CKS (which has same floor plan as the X23J that Jayco no longer makes). I can see the benefit of the U dinette adjacent to the sofa making a nice camper-like wrap-around for TV viewing, but we don't spend much time inside
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