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First time towing a Travel Trailer (before i buy)

Joe.sbg

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So Tim, I’m trying to summarize what I’ve read so far. You have come here as one who has no experience towing travel trailers looking for advice. It more seems like your trying to get confirmation that what you’re proposing to do is aok. It seems that you’re putting your trust more in people who are trying to sell you things than those who have experience doing what you want to do. You’ve gotten a fair number of responses I believe because those who know what can go wrong with in these situations are trying to help you avoid such things. I hope you will give serious consideration to all who have posted. My wife and I have been at this almost 40 years and by the grace of God have been spared any serious issues. I wish you the same fortune.
Joe S.



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P. A. Schilke

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So Tim, I’m trying to summarize what I’ve read so far. You have come here as one who has no experience towing travel trailers looking for advice. It more seems like your trying to get confirmation that what you’re proposing to do is aok. It seems that you’re putting your trust more in people who are trying to sell you things than those who have experience doing what you want to do. You’ve gotten a fair number of responses I believe because those who know what can go wrong with in these situations are trying to help you avoid such things. I hope you will give serious consideration to all who have posted. My wife and I have been at this almost 40 years and by the grace of God have been spared any serious issues. I wish you the same fortune.
Joe S.
Hi Joe,

You nailed it....OP seems to have the answer and is now trying to develop the data to fit the answer...Never a wise move. Trailer tow, Oil Brands and tires seem to be red hot buttons for many folks that own Rangers.

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
 
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Timothy Farley

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So Tim, I’m trying to summarize what I’ve read so far. You have come here as one who has no experience towing travel trailers looking for advice. It more seems like your trying to get confirmation that what you’re proposing to do is aok. It seems that you’re putting your trust more in people who are trying to sell you things than those who have experience doing what you want to do. You’ve gotten a fair number of responses I believe because those who know what can go wrong with in these situations are trying to help you avoid such things. I hope you will give serious consideration to all who have posted. My wife and I have been at this almost 40 years and by the grace of God have been spared any serious issues. I wish you the same fortune.
Joe S.
Rviator gave me sound advice I can back up with numbers. After learning about the SAE J2807 Tow Tests that changes my thoughts. I am just trying to sort myth and fact. There are people who still say you have to change your oils at 3,000 miles tops. That not true, but they will say it is. This is a hold over from long ago. I have a friend who is a truck driver with 35+ years experience. He said these modern trucks are good, he looked at my truck and said you will have no issues. I have a cousin who just told me your crazy you can't tow more then what your truck weights. Then I asked him about the f250 he is buying. So I said your truck weights 27,000 pounds, no it weights 7,000 pounds. I sent him the SAE J2807 Tow Tests and he changed his mind.


The Ford dealership I bought from has no reason to lie, I already bought it.
The RV rental place has no reason to lie, I could sue them.
Rviator has no reason to lie, I am not buying from him and don't know him personally
If the RV dealership sold me a trailer too big and said it was safe I could sue them.
If Ford sold a truck that could not tow half of what they advertised you would see a massive lawsuit.
I have experience with lawsuit and won. Please read about SAE J2807 Tow Tests.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/jalopn...7-what-does-it-mean-for-trucks-1593305929/amp

My question to you is have you tried? Just because you get blown around does not mean you can't. I know f250 that tow 10,000 pound trailers the get blown around.

I will tell you the RV dealership has not made me change my mind. I told them what I could tow and they respected that. I don't think the RV rental place would lie and yes I call multiple. Most said they won't let me rent anything within 10% of my max. So they tell me 6750 pounds. What changed my mind is SAE J2807, nothing else. I have been told by multiple people here 5200 pounds is safe.

This all boils down to the fact that all trucks before 2015 lied about what they can tow. Yes, they blew up if you towed the max. The laws changed to stop that. People are stuck in the past. I think the best thing to do is ask insurance companies. Do you think they are going to insure you if you are going to be a risk? No they won't. I promise you no RV sales guy influenced my decision. People here did.

The people that bought tiny trailers, did you try bigger trailers first and say no? Or did you go on experience that says the engine is going to blow up? Or the truck is too tiny it's going to get pushed all over. I respect your answer, but I have people who have contacted and said they tow 25ft trailers that weight 5500 pounds with no issues. If you tried it and it didn't work then I would be worried. You didn't try it (sorry if I assumed wrong), so you don't know. This truck is not like the old days. It's got a 4 cylinder with a turbo that puts out more hp and torque then every v6 I have owned. It puts out as much hp as some v8's.

I don't have experience towing a travel trailer, but I did tow a boat for years. I plan on renting one to test it around town.

Also when I started this post I was looking at a bigger trailer. I have decided to get a smaller one. I am not dealing with any sales people since I am just looking online.


Edit

Not to be rude but Joe.sbg you don't own a Ranger? I have people who own Rangers tell me it's ok and that right here in this forum. I went through and read most of the comments again. Most people just said be care dont tow over. Or they bought something smaller, not that it was not safe. One person has a 23 and they did say they got pushed around. I need to see if they don't mind share what trailer it is. It makes a difference I am buying a 2020, they might have a old trailer.
 
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Texasota

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Renting the RV before buying it is a step in the right direction. But, don’t limit the experience to only town driving. Also take it on a highway and interstate. And don’t forget to take it to a scale.

Joe and Phil’s posts are spot on. You are only hearing what you want to hear and rejecting sage advise from people who have towed trailers for decades.
 
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Timothy Farley

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Renting the RV before buying it is a step in the right direction. But, don’t limit the experience to only town driving. Also take it on a highway and interstate. And don’t forget to take it to a scale.

Joe and Phil’s posts are spot on. You are only hearing what you want to hear and rejecting sage advise from people who have towed trailers for decades.

I have not bought anything. It will be weeks or months, I want to make sure I do the right thing. I have people with experience telling me it ok. I know if I keep the trailer weight to 5200 pounds and I know I won't have much cargo I should be good. It sounds like length is where it is an issue. My current issue is people who make up crap like, it has to be half the weight of your vehicle or half your towing weight. That's just silly, show me the reasons why on a current moden truck.

Right now more then half say it's ok and about 30% say no. So honestly there is no answer to make everyone happy. The people who own Ranger and trailers already. Those are the people I am listening too. Not any stupid RV dealership, lol. I don't fall for those cons.


Right now I am looking at this one.
The box is 24ft and weight is 5124 pounds.

https://www.mantecatrailer.com/product/new-2020-crossroads-rv-sunset-trail-ss242bh-1112908-29


Question. Could someone explain this please. I see some dealers list the length from hitch to bumper. Then some say box. For the people who say don't tow anything over (your number here) do you mean box or hitch to bumper (overall). Maybe this is where some issues are?
 
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DrSafety

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Timothy,

Another weight capacity you need to consider is payload. Your payload capacity for your truck will be found on a yellow and white sticker on the inside of your door. You then need to subtract tongue weight from that number to find out what you have left for people, cargo and 100 lbs for a good weight distribution hitch. Here is a link to a handy calculator to keep track of all the different weight capacities ( although it doesn't estimate axle ratings - need to go to a scale for those). http://bit.ly/payload-calc-download

As you are looking at trailers you can input the parameters. I know you said you will travel light the spreadsheet recommends you put in the GVWR of the trailer (loaded to capacity) but you can adjust that. I would also caution you on not just putting the dry weight from the dealers or manufacturer's website unless it is the as-built dry weight from the sticker on the trailer (some dealers will show the sticker in photos) you will find that number is oftentimes several hundred pounds higher than the manufacturer's published number. that dry weight does not include around 100 lbs for full propane and a battery.

Just some more food for thought as you look for a travel trailer.
 

P. A. Schilke

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I have not bought anything. It will be weeks or months, I want to make sure I do the right thing. I have people with experience telling me it ok. I know if I keep the trailer weight to 5200 pounds and I know I won't have much cargo I should be good. It sounds like length is where it is an issue. My current issue is people who make up crap like, it has to be half the weight of your vehicle or half your towing weight. That's just silly, show me the reasons why on a current moden truck.

Right now more then half say it's ok and about 30% say no. So honestly there is no answer to make everyone happy. The people who own Ranger and trailers already. Those are the people I am listening too. Not any stupid RV dealership, lol. I don't fall for those cons.
Hi Timothy,

Your friend here is your owners manual, your trailer's manual and your friendly truck stop scale. This is not only for Trailer Tow, but also tire pressures for your loading. The takeaway for most of these posts is that people SWAG their loads, which impact towing. SWAG is Scientific Wild Guess.... Take your truck..loaded with people and pets and what you plan to carry in the bed. Weigh it. Then take the stuff you plan to pack into the trailer and pile that onto the truck and weight the truck. Subtract the previously loaded Truck and then you have the weight of the stuff you plan to load into the trailer and match this against the trailer GVW and the Truck/Trailer GVW...Many people that do not know their exact values, will tow beyond the manufacturers specs. Their tires will be underinflated, they will be heading into potential disasters.

Please generate data...this will be you guide.

A bit of a back story. I purchased my Class A motor home. I had the individual wheel weights weights at a cost of a few hundred dollars. I had the coach loaded and ready to drive. I found my tire pressure recommendations were well above the "dealer" recommendations. I have a friend who inflated his tires to the dealer recommendation for his Class A. He was headed to Phoenix when the left front tire blew out and he and his wife went over on their left side and into the medium between the northbound and Southbound lanes. They were lucky to survive and the coach sustained about $75,000 in damage. If they had weighed their coach, they would have found that the tires were woefully under inflated. The had a very expensive lesson learned.

Develop the data you need to make your purchase. Get the salesman to allow you to visit the scales with your trailer that you want to purchase. Weigh this trailer with your truck and from the previous weights you will quickly have the answer to if this trailer is feasible to tow.

Please do not become another example of someone that made huge mistakes and suffered the consequences. Many folk tow for many years without major incidents. Be one of them.

End Rant.

Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
 
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Timothy Farley

Timothy Farley

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When I actually went to the dealer I checked the stickers. The big question is length, can you help me with that please.


P. A. Schilke, Rvatior and Dr Safety your help on this would be appreciated too. I am getting stuck on this one.

Example: Person says don't get anything over 23ft. Does the mean the box or bumper to the tip of the hitch. I see both ways listed. Some trailers list 23ft, but are 27 feet. Some same 27 feet but are 23 feet. So what is the max length of a trailer you recommend? With both sets of numbers lol
 
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P. A. Schilke

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When I actually went to the dealer I checked the stickers. The big question is length, can you help me with that please.


P. A. Schilke, Rvatior and Dr Safety your help on this would be appreciated too. I am getting stuck on this one.

Example: Person says don't get anything over 23ft. Does the mean the box or bumper to the tip of the hitch. I see both ways listed. Some trailers list 23ft, but are 27 feet. Some same 27 feet but are 23 feet. So what is the max length of a trailer you recommend? With both sets of numbers lol
Hi Timothy,

Length is not a parameter. There are proponents of dual axle vs single axle.... You need to understand the trailer GVW, the truck GVW, the GCW and Tongue weight. And what are your requirements for comfort. Low end is a Teardrop, eh? Wife will not settle for anything less than our 40 ft motor home...she loves the amenities and the space...our tortoise agrees when we travel as well. Please make your decision based on facts you can generate quite simply. That way you get what you want, or you will find that what you want must be contained with a 5th wheel and a F450 Superduty...

Best of luck in making your decision. I cannot stress to make the decision based on facts and not on emotion.

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
 
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Timothy Farley

Timothy Farley

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Hi Timothy,

Length is not a parameter. There are proponents of dual axle vs single axle.... You need to understand the trailer GVW, the truck GVW, the GCW and Tongue weight. And what are your requirements for comfort. Low end is a Teardrop, eh? Wife will not settle for anything less than our 40 ft motor home...she loves the amenities and the space...our tortoise agrees when we travel as well. Please make your decision based on facts you can generate quite simply. That way you get what you want, or you will find that what you want must be contained with a 5th wheel and a F450 Superduty...

Best of luck in making your decision. I cannot stress to make the decision based on facts and not on emotion.

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired

I was told here there don't get over 21 feet. So I am confused.

Will this work? Let's pretend the gross weight is 5204 pounds like they say. It does have dual axles. I checked and the hitch weight is 626 pounds. Based on those numbers.

GCWR =12,500 pounds
Truck Weight = 4441 pounds
Trailer = 5204 pounds

That leaves me with
2,855 pounds for fuel, batteries food etc.. If I am super careful on cargo will this work?

How does the math work? Can I tow is safety? Your best guess with what info.




https://www.bestrv.com/New-Inventor...245BHS-Forest-River-Surveyor-8159661?ref=list

Factory listing
https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/surveyor-luxury/245BHS/1552
 

Texasota

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I was told here there don't get over 21 feet. So I am confused.

Will this work? Let's pretend the gross weight is 5204 pounds like they say. It does have dual axles. I checked and the hitch weight is 626 pounds. Based on those numbers.

GCWR =12,500 pounds
Truck Weight = 4441 pounds
Trailer = 5204 pounds

That leaves me with
2,855 pounds for fuel, batteries food etc.. If I am super careful on cargo will this work?

How does the math work? Can I tow is safety? Your best guess with what info.




https://www.bestrv.com/New-Inventor...245BHS-Forest-River-Surveyor-8159661?ref=list

Factory listing
https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/surveyor-luxury/245BHS/1552
Don’t guess. Take the truck and RV to the scale.
 
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Timothy Farley

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Don’t guess. Take the truck and RV to the scale.
Don’t guess. Take the truck and RV to the scale.

I get that, but please help me. I am just asking if it does weight what is says is that ok? Hear me out, if 5204 pounds is too much on paper then there is no point to taking it to a weigh station. I am not buying it right now. I am trying to learn. Lets pretend, I just took it to a weight station. They say my truck and it weight a combined weight is 9645 pounds. Would you say that ok?

Let say you say no thats too much on paper, then explain why and I can find one that weight less. This trailer is only for learning, its just a picture with numbers to teach me how to count.
 

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I get that, but please help me. I am just asking if it does weight what is says is that ok? Hear me out, if 5204 pounds is too much on paper then there is no point to taking it to a weigh station. I am not buying it right now. I am trying to learn. Lets pretend, I just took it to a weight station. They say my truck and it weight a combined weight is 9645 pounds. Would you say that ok?

Let say you say no thats too much on paper, then explain why and I can find one that weight less. This trailer is only for learning, its just a picture with numbers to teach me how to count.
I'm no expert, but I think what people are trying to tell you is to get the facts and the only way you can get real facts is to take the trailer you are considering and take it to a scale to weigh it. You can't rely on printed weights, either on the truck or the trailer. What the scale tells you will give you the facts you need to make your decision.
 
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Timothy Farley

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I'm no expert, but I think what people are trying to tell you is to get the facts and the only way you can get real facts is to take the trailer you are considering and take it to a scale to weigh it. You can't rely on printed weights, either on the truck or the trailer. What the scale tells you will give you the facts you need to make your decision.

I get that, I am looking to buy a new trailer later. I am just trying to learn how the numbers work. This is just for education reasons only.

Example Below (All listed in Gross weight and trailer only)
My truck weights 4441 pounds as per Ford

#1 8000 pounds (Yup even I know this is too much)
#2 10,000 pounds (Weight too much)
#3 3,000 pound (Its fine)

You dont need to weight everything on paper

All I am asking is IF they trailer weights 5204 pounds and my truck weighs 4441 pounds is that ok? I not driving over there and asking to weight the trailer. Then posting it weights 5204 pounds. The answer would be the same. I just need to know IF the trailer weights this is that ok? I know according to the manual it is. I will WEIGHT the trailer before buying it.

I am asking if you think 9645 combined on the scale is to tow safely.
 

DrSafety

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I get that, I am looking to buy a new trailer later. I am just trying to learn how the numbers work. This is just for education reasons only.

Example Below (All listed in Gross weight and trailer only)
My truck weights 4441 pounds as per Ford

#1 8000 pounds (Yup even I know this is too much)
#2 10,000 pounds (Weight too much)
#3 3,000 pound (Its fine)

You dont need to weight everything on paper

All I am asking is IF they trailer weights 5204 pounds and my truck weighs 4441 pounds is that ok? I not driving over there and asking to weight the trailer. Then posting it weights 5204 pounds. The answer would be the same. I just need to know IF the trailer weights this is that ok? I know according to the manual it is. I will WEIGHT the trailer before buying it.

I am asking if you think 9645 combined on the scale is to tow safely.
Timothy, Yes that number would be ok for the GCWR. it is not that simple. You might be overloaded for payload and the Ranger GVWR. I encourage you to use the calculator I linked to provide you with a better estimate if weighing is not an option. Just some things to think about:

The dry weight you listed is 5204. That is an average based on a stripped down model you are considering. I would guess the weight is closer to 5500 lbs.

The tongue weight of 626 is an average for dry weight. Add to that at a minimum of 100 lbs for propane and battery that sit on the tongue. You are approaching the Rangers max of 750 lbs before you even put anything else in the trailer.

Lastly, look at you Yellow and white sticker on your drivers side door frame of your truck. It will list. The actual payload of your truck. From that number subtract the tongue weight of 750 and any options you put on the truck (tonneau covers, lifts, bed liners, etc. The number you have left is what is available for people, your weight distribution hitch (100 lbs) and any other thing you put in the truck.

The payload for my lariat is 1466lbs fo instance. If I subtract 750 tongue weight, 100 lbs options, 100 lbs WD hitch, that give me 516 lbs for people and cargo, not that much.
 

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