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Old 10-04-2015, 09:05 PM   #1
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TV for our ultimate retirement TT RV

The wife and I are starting to look at RVs that we'd carry into retirement which we expect would mean living in full-time during the winters.

We're looking at 5ers and TTs and have found layouts we like. By the time we buy, our youngest will be 13 and the oldest three girls will be 22-27. So, no bunkhouse. The youngest can do a pull-out sofa and the older kids can take our PUP.

Among TTs, we really like the Jay Flight 31RLDS and 34RSBS. They weigh 7610 and 8440 dry with hitch weights of 1070 and 1250. Cargo is 2640 and 2510 so GVWRs are 10,250 and 10,950.

My gut told me we were well into 3/4T truck territory, perhaps even needing a diesel, but I've been reading about these HD packages available on 1/2T trucks. Are those an option?

What about wheelbase? With these lengths (36' and 37.5' ext. length), are we going to have be concerned with unique or special wheelbase lengths?

A 5er is a distinct possibility if we can afford it, and we know that means a 3/4T or 1T truck.

If we can do one of these TTs with a 1/2T HD, we think we might like the lower cost of that combination.

BTW, I'm looking at commercial driving lessons and some basic mechanic classes to better prepare us. We love PUPing it but as soon as we can scrape together enough cash, we'd like to going bigger with less setup.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:23 PM   #2
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For a 1/2 ton stay under 30 ft and at least 80% from TV tow capacity.
Anything over 30 ft you'll need a 3/4 or 1 ton TV
Stay in the comfort zone for the TV as well for the driver of the TV combo.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALJO View Post
For a 1/2 ton stay under 30 ft and at least 80% from TV tow capacity.
Anything over 30 ft you'll need a 3/4 or 1 ton TV
Stay in the comfort zone for the TV as well for the driver of the TV combo.
X2
Sure, 1/2T trucks have tow ratings in excess of 10,000lbs but their pay loads haven't increased. I would never tow a 10,000 plus trailer with my 1/2T, it's just asking for trouble IMO
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:02 PM   #4
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Follow up for ALJO

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALJO View Post
For a 1/2 ton stay under 30 ft and at least 80% from TV tow capacity. Anything over 30 ft you'll need a 3/4 or 1 ton TV.
Thanks. Those sound like good rules of thumb to get us going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALJO View Post
Stay in the comfort zone for the TV as well for the driver of the TV combo.
That's what we're having trouble measuring. Other than an occasional UHaul, I've never towed anything but our PUP. I've never had any problems and drive conservatively and feel confident I could learn to tow a 5er or PUP, but learn is the operative word.

We've had a lot of folks tell us they regretted the interim steps between their original PUP and last/biggest RV. For example, many have recommended going right to a 5er or TT instead of a hybrid or smaller TT as an interim step.

But.....we've also wondered if a 20' or 23' (X20E, X23B) hybrid might be a good way to learn to tow something twice as big as our PUP before going right to a 30' TT.

Can't think of any other way to figure out my comfort zone without taking the plunge.
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:28 AM   #5
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There are plenty of threads on here regarding this subject. I don't see much difference towing a 20 or 23 than a 30' RV. That being said, I tow a 27 RLS (overall 30') with my Tundra with a 10,100 lbs towing capacity. What is equally as important is cargo capacity of your vehicle. Ours is 1500 lbs, with our TT and just the DW any myself were fine, as we don't carry much in the truck. Ours tows great and most of the time were in the Rockies. All that being said, I would NOT want to tow anything bigger or heavier with a 1/2 ton truck.

You need to check the tongue weight (loaded) of the trailer, fuel, the 3 or 5 of you and whatever your going to load into the truck to see if your not over weight.

May want to check some of the campgrounds you may be planning on staying at, as many state and federal campgrounds have very limited (if at any) sites available for units larger than about 30'.

With a 13 year old I assume he or she is home schooled so being gone all winter may not be an issue. Know that the Wi-Fi at most campgrounds is marginally useable for anything more than checking EMail.. that could be an issue.

Don't see any benefit to taking a commercial driving course either. Practice backing up in a parking lot between cones. Pulling straight is not difficult. Keeping your distance between the vehicles ahead of you is more of a challenge, leave too much room, others will cut in between. After a few trips you will be an old pro, or, as good as most towing are ..

Another thing to think about is, you may not like the lifestyle of living in a small space as much as you think. I would not jump in with huge expense not knowing what the future will hold for you.

Good Luck and enjoy your new lifestyle.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:33 AM   #6
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Thanks Wags. You're helping allay some fears.

I always struggle with how much detail to give and left out some point, but I don't think they change the equation. We're THINKING of doing the purchase in 5 years when we're 55 and the youngest is 13. She's in public school. We'd spot the trailer for May - August as a seasonal site for long weekends. I have a very mobile job and work a lot where we like to vacation. It would almost be like a home office. That would be our plan for the TT/5er for at least the next 5-10 years (until we're 60-65).

Hope is to retire at 62 when youngest starts college but realistically figure that stretches out to 65.

We WERE going to upgrade from our PUP to a small TT or hybrid for the 3 of us and a friend. Over the summer, we camped several times and talked with many experienced folks who told us they regretted the interim step and, if they could do it all over, they'd go right to the one they wanted for the long-term. That advice really hit us, especially since our 3 oldest no longer vacation with us (other than weekends).

Your point about the "huge expense" isn't lost on us, either. That's partly why we're starting our homework now. Our minivan (not TV) has only 2-3 years of life left and if we commit to go big on the RV, I want to replace her vehicle with something that can tow it.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:59 AM   #7
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What others have said about available payload is correct, and almost ALWAYS unmentioned/ overlooked when the salesman is closing on a 1/2 ton vehicle being used to pull a camper.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:50 AM   #8
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In the 70's and 80's we used to pull 2 @ 3 ton TT with a 1/2 ton 225 HP properly equipped. Sway was way less because units where lower to the road. Now we have in a 1/2 ton around 400 hp and much better equipped. Payload didn't change much over the years. But if you have added lots of accessories yes payload will go down.
If you ad additional equipment for support your payload according your needs a 1/2 ton will be fine up to 30 ft. Seek for the weakest link from the TV and improve that.
I have towed my 198RD loaded 5500 lbs with a 1997 Ford Aerostar V6 160 HP 5 speed 3.73 rear. Could the Aerostar pull the trailer, Yes. Comfortably - No. If on the flat with hardly no wind he could keep up with traffic. Many people are just scared if the driving with a combo feels different. Once you get the feel of your combo and its limitations you get more comfortable. If I would go to a nearby campground the Aerostar would be fine. But if I have to travel 3000 mile it would be hard on the Aerostar with the continuous load.
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Old 10-05-2015, 10:11 AM   #9
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Raising,
We're just a couple of years ahead of you headed down a similar path. The bride and I started with a hybrid (was shopping for a pup till I saw my first HTT). 3 people in the 23B was comfortable. But, I don't look at a hybrid as a suitable for full-time. We were able to pull the HTT with our existing vehicle (barely). After a year we were planning the next jump. I'd pretty much settled on a 5th which meant we'd need a bigger TV. I batted the weights around in my head and on spreadsheets till I was dizzy. We bought the truck and pulled the hybrid with it another year before trading to the 5th. The hybrid was my first real trailer pulling experience and after a year I figured I was mostly a pro (a legend in my own mind).
The 5th tows a bit differently and took some getting use to and at the end of the day it is a better towing experience.
My plan is to retire next year and the bride and I have been making preliminary plans for several extended trips. We don't see ourselves full-timing but we know we could if we wanted.
One of the significant things that I realized early in our search for our 5th was that while the hybrid would accommodate 4 adults easily most 5ths were geared towards 2 adults (bunk house models being the exception). While we have floor space for additional people it involves folding out the sofa and then storing it the next morning.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 10-05-2015, 10:26 AM   #10
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My current setup weighs 7,150 loaded. GVWR of the trailer is 7,500. My 1/2 ton has a 2,000 payload and can haul 9,600. The camper is a 29BHS. Even though I am within my limits, this is by far, the largest trailer I would haul with this truck. If we upgrade trailers, we also will upgrade the truck. It does well on the flats, decent in high winds but have never hit the mountains with it. I ran it from here in NC to mid Florida last Thanksgiving and it did good. Keep your speeds below 65 and it will be better.
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