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 > First TT advice

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Thetruck454

NH

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Posted: 09/19/19 10:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Long winded first post, but here we go:

I’m looking for a travel trailer to tow with my Durango SRT. I know ideally you pick the trailer first, then the tow vehicle, but I unfortunately put the cart before the horse (although technically I have the horse and now am looking for the cart).

I have experience towing enclosed cargo trailers and open trailers with my previous trucks so towing isn’t new to me. With the Durango SRT I’ve only towed a 7x18 enclosed cargo trailer weighing 4000# and it laughed at it. With a 475hp 392 hemi, it has more than enough power. It was more fun than it should be taking off from a stop light cracking of 5k+ rpm upshifts and out accelerating cars next to you all while towing a trailer. The back end is so planted you don’t really feel the effects of the cross winds and there is zero pogoing effect over bumps (tow mode stiffens the rear adjustable Bilstien stocks to help control the trailer while leaving the fronts on soft). As far as braking the Durango has a factory brake controller and the trailer had electric brakes, but the Durango has 6 piston Brembo’s up front and 4 piston Brembo’s on back so it has significant stopping power. I also towed the same cargo trailer with a significant quantity of cargo (both middle seat and back seat down) and aside from squatting the back end enough to make me concerned, it displayed the same confident control as towing the trailer without the extra cargo. This tells me the Durango’s towing weakness is not the trailer weight, but is the tongue weight so I’ll definitely need a WDH with a TT.

The Durango has a towing capacity of 8700# with a maximum tongue weight of 870#. GVW is 7100#, vehicle weight is 5510#, and payload is listed as 1590#.

When looking at travel trailers I’m finding plenty of ones that fit my needs while keeping the GVW (not the underestimated dry weight) under the 8700#. What does have me nervous is a lot of them list a significant (for the Durango) tongue weight. When looking at dry hitch weights, I’m figuring in 2 full propane tanks @ 35# a piece, a couple batteries weighing 50#, a WDH, plus a honey pot and whatever cargo I’d put in the under bed storage so that means I’m going to add an easy 250# to the tongue. With that being said I’m ruling out travel trailers that list a dry hitch weight of over 600# to be safe. One thing I have found is some 5000# TT’s have a dry hitch weight of well over 600# yet some 6000# TT’s have a dry hitch weight of 550# or less.

In looking to keep the tongue weight low I’m looking at TT’s that have the bathroom and kitchen over or behind the trailer axles which should mean at least the gray and black tank should also be over or behind the trailer axles. The Heartland trailer’s I’ve found that fit my needs all while appearing to be within the Durango’s towing limits are the North Trail 22FBS (Dry weight of 5497#, dry hitch 395#, GVW 6900#), the North Trail 27RBDS (Dry weight of 6354#, dry hitch 572#, GVW 7400#), and the North Trail 28RKDS (Dry weight of 6780#, dry hitch 542#, GVW 8600#). I really like the Mallard M260 (Dry weight of 5866#, dry hitch 674#, GVW 6900#), but the dry hitch weight has me nervous so I ruled it out.

I guess my questions to the forum are:

Is the ratio of trailer weigh to hitch weight something that significantly changes when you load it up?

Should I be worried about 6000# plus dry trailer that lists a sub 600# dry hitch weight?

Can anyone see any flaws or wrong assumptions in my approach or have any other suggestions?

WayneAt63044

St. Louis, MO

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Posted: 09/19/19 11:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You correctly state that dry weights are meaningless at the beginning of your post but then do the comparison later in your post using dry weights. My advice would be to get the gross numbers for the trailers you are considering and then use those. If you figure tongue weight at 13% of gross, you can work backwards by deciding what tongue weight you can tolerate and calculate the max gross. It will be less than the 8,700# tow rating of your tow vehicle. For example, if you decide 800# tongue weight to be the max load you want to carry, dividing that by .13 gives you max trailer gross of 6,154#. My original trailer experience 20+ years ago is the same as yours. I wanted no more than a half ton truck as my daily ride to work so bought a trailer to match that. Not been disappointed. Good luck!


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wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 09/19/19 11:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tongue weight should be at least 10% and preferably 12% of trailer weight.
Also, if you are going to use a weight distribution hitch, remember that its weight has to be added. Max tongue weights in the 800 range, with 100 taken by the hitch puts you into a 6000-6400 lb loaded trailer.

Normally having GVWR and cargo cap covers most situations, and braking gets considered as an afterthought. But you have touched on it already.

Are you going to be travelling alone? Remember passengers and possessions all count toward cargo cap.

Most folks seem to mention some percentage below the maximum of their vehicles professed limits, With 10% to 25% under being the range I think most will use.
Happy motorin

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 09/19/19 11:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quick thought -- think about your planned usage -- number of folks? Length of trips? Any off-pavement towing? My advice would be to get the smallest trailer that fits the bill. Yes, you can handle a big rig, but do you need one?

Smaller trailers are easier to tow, store, park, maneuver, clean, and pay for.

You don't have to go ultra small (like I have!), but luxury comes with many costs.


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Jebby14

Windsor Ontario

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Posted: 09/19/19 12:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1590
- your family (going to guess 500 lbs adjust as you like
-100 lbs for hitch
- whatever you have in the car (going to guess 250 lbs adjust accordingly_
=740 left of your payload
740/1.15 = 4933 lbs gvwr.

I don't know your weight numbers but I suspect you are way out of payload


If it moves and it shouldn't..... duct tape
if it doesn't move and it should.....WD40
if all else fails .....BFH


Mickeyfan0805

SE Wisconsin

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Posted: 09/19/19 02:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thetruck454 wrote:


Can anyone see any flaws or wrong assumptions in my approach or have any other suggestions?


As others have stated, it is highly likely that payload will be your limiting factor. Some say use a trailer's GVWR, others don't (myself included). Some say 12% tongue weight, others say 15%. Only you can decide how conservative you want to be. But...
-Be honest with yourself about what you will really in the car.
-Get as close as possible to real numbers (if you can't scale, at lease make sure your starting payload number is the one listed on the yellow sticker on the door jamb).
-Think through EVERYTHING you need to put in that car and make sure you account for it in your payload.

As stated above, I think the resulting number is likely to be far less than what is allowed in your towing capacity (most likely in the 5-6k range at most).

Thetruck454

NH

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Posted: 09/19/19 05:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the responses everyone. I should have mentioned the vehicle occupancy in that first post. All I'll have is myself, my soon to be wife, and a couple cats. Don't have kids and neither of us want them so my payload probably won't be much. If and that's a big IF we have another couple camp with us I'd expect them to be in their own vehicle. As far as extra stuff I figure I have the flexibility to put it in the trailer to reduce tow vehicle payload or put it in the Durango if I need to shift it there. I've seen those fold down racks on the back of the trailer to store stuff so I would think that adds minimal tongue weight if not removes some. The catch being I don't want to take off tougue weight below 10%. On the safe side I bet I could assume 500# of stuff in the Durango, so that leaves me 1100# to play with for tongue weight, which is more than I can use while keeping the tongue weight below 870#. When I look at trailers looks like I should add to the criteria the GVW can't start with a 7 based on what everyone is saying.

Lwiddis

Lone Pine, CA

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Posted: 09/19/19 06:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“I’m looking at TT’s that have the bathroom and kitchen over or behind the trailer axles which should mean at least the gray and black tank should also be over or behind the trailer axles.”

Why do you assume the bathroom and kitchen...grey tanks...are behind the axles?

Dry weights are useless. Tongue weights less than ten percent are dangerous. I prefer 14% and encounter Western wind regularly.


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Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Posted: 09/19/19 07:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First off, forget all the bravado talk about how much power your Durango has, as in how it laughs at trailers... Power has nothing to do with being able to tow safely and under control. In fact, having a lot of power in an other wise towing challenged platform can just get you in trouble faster.
Some well regarded TVs in the past such as the early Dodge/Cummins and Ford Powerstrokes were far more capable than your Durango, with much less power.

That said, you do seem to realize that your limitation will be payload. In my situation, I have a 1 ton dually CC, So I don't pay a lot of attention to it.... But you NEED to KNOW your numbers everytime, as you will be cutting it close. This is difficult with a TT, as normal usage can drastically alter the TW of the TT in the course of a trip. Propane gets consumed and disappears, FW leaves its tank and ends up in the black/grey tanks. Food/drink gets consumed and leaves the pantry/fridge, and ends up in the black tank. Clothes get used, an leave the closets ending up in the hamper etc. Many other items may ride home in a different location than they started the out on the trip.

So you need to know your weights..No guessing or estimating. Get it weighed (Durango and TT) ready to camp, at the heaviest you will ever be. Figure out where your TW needs to be. Then get and USE a Sherline TW scale Everytime you hitch up. Doing this will allow you to make any needed adjustments BEFORE getting on the highway and finding out the hard way that your TW is too low.

Be safe out there.
Happy camping



Huntindog
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2010 Palomino Sabre 30 BHDS
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2 bathrooms, no waiting
2011 Silverado CC DA big dually.



Takamine

Indiana

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Posted: 09/19/19 07:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Correct me if I'm wrong, but... doesn't having a WDH remove some of the weight from the hitch and distribute it to the axles of the truck and trailer? Thus reducing the amount of weight that the tongue is actually putting on the hitch. Again, correct me if I'm wrong.


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