Looking for advice on Tow vehicle and Travel trailer. What would you do? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 09-03-2016, 11:26 PM   #1
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Looking for advice on Tow vehicle and Travel trailer. What would you do?

My Wife and I have seemed to reach the point of our lives we are starting to think about traveling / camping. Eventually when the kids are done with school, traveling a lot more and staying in locations for longer period of times. I have several more years to work but I wanted to get a few of the items bought and paid for first before I retire. Mainly a travel trailer and a tow vehicle. The age old story, I know. The Tow vehicle will be my daily driver and I have to be able to get in a 68 high parking garage. I really like the Idea of a fifth wheel but the cost and size of truck sort concern me. I just recently passed down my Ram 2011 1500 V8 hemi to my daughter, she loves that truck. I have 90k miles and have had Zero problems with it. She uses it to haul around a horse trailer with loaded weight at rite around 5200#. Honestly when we tow with that truck you can hardly tell you are pulling it. Needless to say I am a Ram Fan.. To me that truck is super comfortable and an overall a pleasure to drive. Currently my family camps twice a year or so and stays a couple weeks at a time. We dont have a trailer but we have something that has suited us very well. It is a 3 room 12 x20 Tent with an additional 8 extension. 28 +- total in length. Not many places can accommodate that size of tent but we have a few favorite spots. If I can I will post a couple pictures. We have it set up with actual tent carpet, Ac and a mini fridge. We call it our RV in a bag. Fyi it is an Outwell Montana tent. So we are not new to camping or towing. Just to travel trailers.
To get to the point, this is what I am thinking about. 2017 ram crew 1500 v8 hemi, 4x4, 3.92 axel, MAX PAYLOAD,1,440lbs, MAX TOWING,10,200lbs. With towing package..

Dutchman AEROLITE | 298RESL Ext. Length: 33' 11" Ext. Height: 11' 2" Average Shipping Weight: 7,204 , hitch weight of 790#s (the interesting thing is the dealer called this a ton tow-able trailer) (I have been reviewing these trailers for over a year & this has exactly what we have been looking for) I Will say my older kids will go out with us a couple times but this is mainly for my Wife and I.

If I added helper bags to the ram world that help? Would I need to replace the hitch with a weight distributing hitch? Or is this just too far out of spec to safely consider? I have never experienced the White knuckle effect or sway and really dont think I want to.

Of course after we setup camp I want a tow vehicle I can take anywhere with the wife. Local towns, citys, restaurants & points of interests. She can drive a 1500 but highly doubt a 2500 or above.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.. I most likely will not have an opportunity to upgrade towing vehicles or trailers after this purchase. One of the key points is, this truck will be my daily driver just not for towing. I average about 18000 -20,0000 miles a year on my daily drivers. I have thought about a Ram 2500 but I am unsure if that size of truck would be able to be parked in a parking garage and used as a daily driver. If I did go that route that starts me thinking about a fifth wheel for the ease and simplicity of towing.
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Old 09-04-2016, 03:16 PM   #2
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The truck is OK but why do you need a 4X4? These new trucks say they can pull 10,400 pounds but I would never try to pull that much with a 1/2 ton truck. Do not get a big trailer anything over 25 feet is just a waste. When I go camping we spend very little time in the camper. We use the jackknife sofa to pile stuff on and only sit at the dinette to eat our meals for about 20 minutes. We cook all our meals outside. Most of the time we are outside this is the main reason we go camping and to get away from all the crazy big cities with all the crazy people that live in them and be OUTSIDE! I have a 2016 Chevy 1500 double cab 5.3L with full tow package. Trailer is a 2010 Kodiak 24RBS total length is 26 feet. Total weight is 6000 pounds loaded. So the brochure says. it never weighed more than 5500 pounds loaded. Hitch weight is 396 pounds. I do not have a weight distribution anti sway hitch. Do not waste your money on one. Keep your truck payload down! Remember that 1,400 pound payload weight includes 2 passengers that only weigh 150 pounds each and a full tank of gas weighs over 200 pounds. So now your payload is only 800 pounds and you have not put one thing in your truck!! Your hitch weight is 790 pounds so you have less than 20 pounds left in your payload. I hope your dog is real small? The only time I get white knuckle towing is going through big cities on the highway in heavy traffic! I will take a 18 wheel semi passing me at 80 MPH on a country road any day over the latter. You will get a lot of "advice" on the RV forums, I like when people share what they actually DO! The most ridiculous thing I saw on our last trip was a 34ft travel trailer with 3 huge slides, 2 fireplaces and 2 big Lazyboys in the back. That monster must have weighed well over 8000 pounds. All this being towed with a Dodge 1500 1/2 ton truck with 2 bicycles in the bed? Iam sure the $750 WDH helped a great deal. It was so long he took 3 times around the park to back this in! Most of the time they were outside hanging out under the awning by the campfire? This is from my experience and my observations.

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Old 09-04-2016, 10:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by masterblaster View Post
The truck is OK but why do you need a 4X4?
Hi and thank you for the advice. To answer your question, 4x4 is invaluable. Part of my daily driver is helping my daughter. She is a horse trainer and I help her frequently haul horses. The barn she uses and places she goes is usually in muddy off road barns and stables. I would still be stuck in some of those places with out a 4x4. I appreciate your feedback!
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:01 AM   #4
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I agree with Masterblaster on keeping it small, but disagree on the WD hitch. Our TT is 25', no slides, tows like a dream with WD hitch (which is added to, does not replace the hitch on your truck. It uses leverage to "tilt" the truck and TT into alignment with each other, thus shifting weight.)
Here's how I feel about slides - get them if you will stay at places for at least 4 days at a time - the extra room will be welcome. But if you're like us, who like to move on to the next place after 2 days, i.e. a traveler more than a camper, then don't get slides. Too much work and too prone to problems. Just my opinion.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:17 AM   #5
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Thank you for the feedback, I did not know that was how a Wd hitch worked.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:28 AM   #6
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Nobody explains it very well. They talk about weight-shifting to the front, but how? Imagine an overloaded hitch. The rear of the truck and the front of the trailer sag down. We've all seen it. Now imagine if you will, giant hands that could twist that truck hitch upward, while at the same time twisting it forward until the truck was level. A WD hitch does that, by using long bars, secured to the TT, to pull the ball hitch assembly upward from the rear and tilt the hitch forward, which then acts to lift the rear of the truck and shift the weight forward. The added components of the WD hitch, i.e. the tension bars, add about 15 minutes to each hook-up or disconnect, assuming you have an electric tongue jack. Without that, it's a killer.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by smockb View Post
I most likely will not have an opportunity to upgrade towing vehicles or trailers after this purchase.
Don't put the horse before the cart, until you know what cart will serve your needs.

Keep in mind when you start travelling and if your into doing some boondocking, you will probably add to the stuff you want to take with you.

I'm not a fan of playing with the numbers to make things work. There are plenty of threads where people are chasing a set-up and very often the only answer is you need a bigger truck. Yes you can do things like add bags or other suspension add ons, but they don't change the numbers on the data plate. The data plate are the only thing that insurance companies and motor vehicle department go by. What would be the impact if your on the wrong side of the numbers.

How far out is "several years"?

I made the mistake of getting the new camper and truck when I had 4 years to go. Yes, it was a half ton pulling a "half ton towable", after 4 years of daily driver and towing across the Rockies on holidays, I wore the truck out in year 3 of my retirement.

When I went shopping for a replacement truck, I was going to buy my last truck and daily driver. That meant getting rid of the numbers game and go for a truck that would handle everything I had accumulated and leave me with plenty of room for error. Glad I did, bigger truck, bigger brakes, and the power to get out of the way if you have to. Saved me big time getting through Chicago. Never again will I go through Chicago, the drivers there remind me too much of the Vancouver drivers.

When I was looking at a new truck it was between the F250 and the Ram 2500. The Ram won out purely on the engine. The day I went back to buy the Ram 2500, the dealer got a 3500 in. The promo on it gave me the 3500 for less than the 2500. One trim level down from what I was planning on buying, still had the stuff I wanted and I don't miss the stuff I never had.

I would be doing a side by side comparison of the Ram 1500 and 2500. I believe they are built on the same platform. When the new 2500 was launched, they added the 6.4L Hemi and the same 4-link suspension as the 1500. They were claiming improved fuel mileage numbers over the 5.7L.

You really do want to get the timing right to take the big step. Perhaps look into a trailer rental for a couple of seasons. My son has been doing that for a while now, the rental dealer sets the camper up on a site on a resort setting. The only thing that you have to worry about is the food. They drive up and resort camp for a week or two and drive home. You could try out a few different styles of trailers.

I know all too well what that light at the end of the tunnel looks like. Just be sure that it is the light at the end of the tunnel that you are seeing.

Bin there, dun that and got the bank account to show for it. And I don't feel the least little bit guilty for spending my kids inheritance. 😭

When I was a kid I was going nowhere fast, now I'm an old man I'm going everywhere slow.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:42 PM   #8
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I will agree 100% with MartyG on the wd hitch, some truck mfgs actually require one while towing certain weights. I may disagree on the slides If the slides aren't huge, they most likely will be fine. 95% of the slide problems you see on here are on the Voltages and bigger trailers that have giant slides. My camper just has a dinette slide that works flawlessly. It also adds MUCH needed space with only a 22ft camper. It's downright huge in there with the slide.

They do require modest maintenance which only takes a few minutes every few trips or so.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:34 PM   #9
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That's some tent! I like it.

I won't add to the previous two posts that pretty much reflect exactly how I feel on the subject. Besides, I've rarely seen one of "these" threads actually change the immediate decision of a determined shopper.

But experience WILL eventually right any mistakes.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:25 AM   #10
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1440# payload is weak. Look further for something closer to 1600-1800# payload. I don't know anything about Ram other than they rust quickly up here, but on the Ford F150 if you were to find one with the Heavy Duty payload Package, it can handle almost as much weight as an F250.

The engine isn't the big thing in these, its the payload. No truck, whether its Ram, GM or Ford will have a small engine in a high payload truck. So thats what you need to look at, and that will give you just about everything you need to pull most trailers.

One thing to note, and I don't know why, but horse trailers pull much easier than travel trailers. Don't know if its the weight distribution, the wedge front, or what, but my New Yorker pulls like a light trailer compared to the Coleman, and they are both about the same weight when loaded.

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