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Old 01-20-2021, 10:51 PM   #1
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A Newbie In Over My Head

Hi All!

My wife and I just bought a 28' 2004 Dutchmen Sport Lite TT. To be perfectly honest, it was an impulse buy fueled by Corona-Cabin Fever. We're pretty excited though, we love to travel and can't wait to show our 14 year old son this beautiful country.

The pickle I'm in at the moment is that my current vehicle is nowhere near big enough to tow this trailer (TT approx 5000# dry) so I need to look into a new truck. My friends are saying to go for at least a 3/4 ton truck to be able to comfortably tow what we have. I am reluctant to go that big because it's going to be a grocery getter 90% of the time. I was first looking into an F-150, but I'm not confident it will have enough power to do a cross country trip without problems. Consumer reports puts a Toyota Tundra as the top ranked truck for reliability and maintenance, so that's what I'm leaning towards. With towing capacity of well over 10,000# I would think it's big enough for what we need, but I see that very few people on this site are using a Tundra and it makes me wonder why...

By my very rough and extremely inexperienced calculations we're looking at towing around 7,500# all packed up and on the road.

First question: is that an accurate guesstimate for what we'll be pulling? I know propane, water, gear, and necessities all add up pretty quick. The trailer has a max capacity of 7,700# if that matters.

Second question: will I be shooting myself in the foot if I buy a Tundra instead of a 2500/F-250? We'd like to be able to travel anywhere in the states

Third question: what am I overlooking that I need to consider besides towing capacity?

I feel like I'm in a little over my head. I want to make sure to pick the right tow vehicle to keep my family safe, as well as everyone else on the road. Any advice and pointers are much appreciated.

Thanks!
Jess
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:59 PM   #2
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Federal rules require each tow vehicle and each TT to have weight stickers. Different trim levels have different weights. Apparently identical trucks can have different specifications. Look at the weight stickers inside the driver's door frame for maximum capacities for that individual vehicle as it left the factory. Do this before signing anything. Published values are frequently wrong or confusing. Look up weights by VIN number is often OK. Other published weights are likely wrong.

The hitch itself will have its own maximum capacity possibly different from the truck.

Absolutely anything added to the vehicle after it shipped will decrease capacity. So, added hitches, passengers, luggage, everything reduces capacity.

Travel trailers are similar. The sticker is on the front drivers side. Tongue weight on the sticker are frequently wrong. The minimum tongue weight will be 10% of the actual loaded trailer weight. 15% is more stable. Actual weights have been known to be more than double specified weight.

The maximum towing capacity specified by vehicle manufacturers is indeed the maximum towing capacity, but it only applies to and empty vehicle with no added after market items and with a driver that weights no more than 150 pounds.

If indeed a TV has a tow capacity of 10000 pounds, it is unlikely your actual available capacity will exceed 8000 pounds so 7700 pound will probably be good. The TV will be maxed out. This is why some of your friends advise a bigger truck. Do the math!

Actual weights are what count, they must not exceed specified maximum gross vehicle weight, max axle weights, max cargo weight, max combined TV and TT weight. Remember, an added hitch and/or weight distribution hitch is cargo weight along with the TT tongue weight. Absolutely everything added in or on the TV is cargo weight. Everything added to the TV reduces towing capacity.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:50 AM   #3
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Simply put a tundra is not a f250/350 or 2500 no matter what they do to it. get more than what you need it doesn’t have to be new just has to meet your needs
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:26 AM   #4
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Another thing to consider is using a truck to it max or close to its max rating can speed up the wear drastically compared to a heavy duty truck.

Prior to upgrading my F150 to a F250 I wore through a set of front bushings in a little over a year primarily towing a 6x12 tool trailer that was around 3500lbs.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:07 AM   #5
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I think some 1/2 ton trucks are now rated to tow close to 13,000 pounds. Obviously, that would be a lightly loaded truck with little tongue weight but that is way more capacity than your trailer would ever require.

Older 1/2 ton trucks are all going to be over 9,000 lbs. most likely so even though closer to your limit I think still safe.

My opinion is the truck will be safe at capacity but the trailer will very easily weigh more than you think as manufacturers give a dry weight that doesn’t include batteries, water, gear, etc. so you will likely easily be at your trailers max weight when loaded up.

I find that most of the members on this site are knowledgeable but also very conservative too. Nothing wrong with “too much truck” but I think you need to balance that with some practicality. Unless you tow that trailer all the time I think you will prefer the ride and cost savings of the half ton over the bigger trucks.

Newer trucks will have integrated trailer brakes and other nice aids you will appreciate too. But if you buy an older truck that doesn’t have the trailer brake or even an after market brake then you at least will know the truck hasn’t been worked hard towing a trailer.

Just my two cents.

Good luck and enjoy the trailer!
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:32 AM   #6
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Regardless which truck you pick, you'll want to explore stabilizing hitches. There are several out there, Andersen makes a decent one.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:47 AM   #7
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I strongly support the poster who told you to get a bigger truck than you need. If it turns out you like RVing, you're going to upgrade very quickly and not much is sadder than not being able to afford a new RV and a new truck or not being able to upgrade to what you want due to limitations on your truck. Get a truck that will meet the needs of your next RV.
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Old 01-21-2021, 01:08 PM   #8
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In my opinion, you would need to get something that is made for towing. Things like beefed up transmissions, factory installed brake controllers, oversized front brakes, beefed up suspensions, trailer connections, transmission coolers, etc, are things you should look for. A larger rated truck may give you the extra power you need to make it through those mountain passes and give you peace of mind you want when towing with extra stability.

Towing an RV is stressful... buy anything that would make you more comfortable and confident...

Frank

PS: a load stabilizing hitch is mandatory and, depending on your truck choice, a sway attachment .
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:36 PM   #9
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I am partial to Ford F series. The reason you lots of engine and F style choices. Mine is 2018 F150 2.7 eco boost twin turbo engine. 24 mpg around town and up to 14 towing. My trailer is 20 foot box 24 plus overall and weighs 5,500 fully loaded. Also have 900 pounds of tongue weight. For yours you might be able to get by with a larger eco boost engine. Suggest you go to Ford dealer that has lots of trucks available (show they are a truck dealer) get the brochure and do some online looking for tow specs.
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:43 PM   #10
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Well put what Frank said comfortable and confident. You don’t want to go out the first couple times fighting the steering wheel every time a tractor trailer passes or you go over a bridge Or even light wind blows you around if that happens you will be pissed off every time you hook up to go somewhere Or come back all our best central FLA
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:05 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your input. I appreciate your insight and experience. I'll be looking into an F-250 instead of a Tundra, it sounds like it's just better equipped to do this kind of work. Does diesel vs gas make a difference in power output? I've also heard that the 250 had some tough years for engine problems. Does anyone have thoughts on that?
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:57 PM   #12
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Watch out for 6.4 Ford Diesel. research it
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:22 PM   #13
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Here's my two cents. I had a 2018 tundra for two years. Love the truck itself however I was pulling a 5000 lb trailer. Now a tundra gas mileage sucks anyway but when you start pulling something it triple sucks. my average gas mileage pulling that vehicle was 9mpg.my lease was coming due on the tundra so I gladly got rid of it and I bought a 2018 F-250 6.7 diesel. Pulling the same trailer I'm averaging 16 mpg. Some may argue that the differences in gas prices would not justify but let me tell you pulling the camper is like night and day I wish I would have never went to the tundra. People also say that maintenance on the diesel is ridiculous as well but that's not really the case either.
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:00 AM   #14
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I have a 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the Cummins diesel and I love it.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
I have a 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the Cummins diesel and I love it.
Frank believe it or not, that is the same engine (ISV 5.0) that is in my 32' Tiffin motor home, with different turbo and programing, but pretty much the same engine.
Mine is in the Cummins shop for a blown injector.
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Old 01-23-2021, 03:47 PM   #16
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Frank believe it or not, that is the same engine (ISV 5.0) that is in my 32' Tiffin motor home, with different turbo and programing, but pretty much the same engine.
Mine is in the Cummins shop for a blown injector.
Quiet and LOTS of power!
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:28 PM   #17
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Let's do some math. Did a bit of research and you are close on gross weight at ~7700#.

7700x12% tongue weight=924#
Passengers=~450# You can determine exact number.
Generator+Fuel=200#
Misc in bed=200# Again, you can determine exact number.
WDH=100#
Add a second battery for boondocking=50#

Subtotal=1924#
If you add a tonneau cover, bed liner or any other equipment that diminishes the cargo capacity proportionally.

Probably right at, or above, what most 1/2 ton trucks are rated for. BTW, forget tow capacity, your real concern is cargo capacity. For me the other concern is the length of the trailer. This will probably end up being a tail wagging the dog situation. There is no Toyota, Nissan or other 1/2 ton truck that I would use to tow that trailer. My personal limit for towing with a 1/2 ton is 6000#. Hope this helps with your decision.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingGiggles View Post
Hi All!

My wife and I just bought a 28' 2004 Dutchmen Sport Lite TT. To be perfectly honest, it was an impulse buy fueled by Corona-Cabin Fever. We're pretty excited though, we love to travel and can't wait to show our 14 year old son this beautiful country.

The pickle I'm in at the moment is that my current vehicle is nowhere near big enough to tow this trailer (TT approx 5000# dry) so I need to look into a new truck. My friends are saying to go for at least a 3/4 ton truck to be able to comfortably tow what we have. I am reluctant to go that big because it's going to be a grocery getter 90% of the time. I was first looking into an F-150, but I'm not confident it will have enough power to do a cross country trip without problems. Consumer reports puts a Toyota Tundra as the top ranked truck for reliability and maintenance, so that's what I'm leaning towards. With towing capacity of well over 10,000# I would think it's big enough for what we need, but I see that very few people on this site are using a Tundra and it makes me wonder why...

By my very rough and extremely inexperienced calculations we're looking at towing around 7,500# all packed up and on the road.

First question: is that an accurate guesstimate for what we'll be pulling? I know propane, water, gear, and necessities all add up pretty quick. The trailer has a max capacity of 7,700# if that matters.

Second question: will I be shooting myself in the foot if I buy a Tundra instead of a 2500/F-250? We'd like to be able to travel anywhere in the states

Third question: what am I overlooking that I need to consider besides towing capacity?

I feel like I'm in a little over my head. I want to make sure to pick the right tow vehicle to keep my family safe, as well as everyone else on the road. Any advice and pointers are much appreciated.

Thanks!
Jess
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:23 PM   #18
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Thank you again everyone! I just drove my new to me 2018 F-250 home and am confident I got the right truck for the job. The dealership owner even offered to come meet up and teach me how to properly hitch up the trailer to make sure we're all safe and sound!
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:41 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by WanderingGiggles View Post
Thank you again everyone! I just drove my new to me 2018 F-250 home and am confident I got the right truck for the job. The dealership owner even offered to come meet up and teach me how to properly hitch up the trailer to make sure we're all safe and sound!

You are going to have some fun when you get out and about. We're all here if yo have any other issues.
RichH
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Old 01-27-2021, 03:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by WanderingGiggles View Post
Thank you again everyone! I just drove my new to me 2018 F-250 home and am confident I got the right truck for the job. The dealership owner even offered to come meet up and teach me how to properly hitch up the trailer to make sure we're all safe and sound!

You certainly have a more than adequate truck for the job. Good luck and enjoy the trailer and truck!
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