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Real world towing with a 1/2 ton

tow towing camper trailer treverl trailer

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#1 cntry_boy_77

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:47 AM

So to go off my other post, give me some real world data here! I know there are guys out there that have 1/2 tons and tow travel trailers around. What is your setup? How much weight ya towing? Dry weight? Wet weight? Any real world info would be very much appriciated! We really need to jump on purchasing a TT before Spring hits to get the best deals! Hack, even give us some good travel trailer models we should be looking at! We are a large family of 5. Again, this would be towed by my 2001 GMC Sierra Ext. cab 4wd with the 5.3 and tow package.

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#2 06SierraZ71

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:18 PM

I have a '06 Fun Finder, FBR-189 (19' trailer), Dry weight ~2600lbs, max/wet weight 4200lbs. I can get anywhere from 10-14 mpg while towing depending on how patient/careful I drive. I tow in 3rd with tow/haul engaged. To make a guestimate I probably max the trailer weight rating out with a little more in the truck & of course the family (4 of us). I do use WD hitch and sway bar. You notice it's there but nothing the truck can't handle. I pulled it down through Canada and across the US when I moved from Alaska to Georgia and truck and trailer are fine (except bearing issue on trailer but that was my bad.) Info on my truck is in my sig.

Is there is something else you're looking for just ask. Hope you find a good deal.
2006 GMC Sierra, 1500, SLE 2, Crew Cab, Short Bed, Z71, 5.3L (L59), 4L60e, 3.42 gears, G80, Auto Trac 4x4, Midnight Blue Metallic, Truxxx leveling kit, K&N air filter, Line-X bed liner, Tekonsha brake controller, Firestone Destination LE2 tires, Monroe Relfex Shocks, Trail FX side steps. 100,000 mile club! Have Fun and Enjoy the Reading!

#3 music

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:04 PM

Here's some info on my setup. I've posted this a few different times, so I put it into a Goggle doc... rather than posting again.

Truck + Camper Info

If I towed a lot more often, I'd probably move to a heavier truck, or maybe something with a bit more power and/or gearing. For the few times a year that we travel with it, my truck gets the job done fine... even on long trips. We traveled well over 5000 miles this summer "out west", topping 10,000 ft at one point, and drove for days in high wind (30 to 40 mph head/cross wind, w/ 60 mph gusts). Keep in mind, that I've been towing for a long time, and started with a popup. Actually, towing the popup behind a minivan was the only real "nerve racking" experiences I've had. This camper actually pulls better than the last one we had (which was 22 ft, and 5000 lbs loaded).

Edited by music, 08 February 2012 - 07:02 PM.

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#4 mc7719

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:23 PM

2008 Sierra SLT 5.3L, 3.73 gear ratio, w/ 'HD Tow Package'

Towing:
2009 Everlite 29ft double axle. 5000# dry, maybe 5800-ish loaded (w/o water)

Equipment:
Full weight distribution hitch w/ sway control
Transmission cooler (OEM)
Electric Brake Controller


Tows fine, chugs up steep hills a bit (not breaking any landspeed records) but it did it fine even in 30*C temperatures in the middle of August. Tranny cooler kept trans temp steady at about 105*C

If I had to do it again, I would go with a 2500HD 6.0L hands down. Mostly for the 6spd selectable trans. & 4.10 gears, The 4spd is 'clunky' under a heavy tow. Also, this about the max limit of the truck when calculating GCWR, including passengers, etc. I'd like the "comfort room" in tow capacitiy and ability to go heavier if I want. For now, the fact I only tow maybe 2-3 times a year (Maybe 3 weeks in total), it's 'adequate'...
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#5 cntry_boy_77

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:39 PM

Here's some info on my setup. I've posted this a few different times, so I put it into a Goggle doc... rather than posting again.

https://docs.google....f6G6qjG7Fo/edit

If I towed a lot more often, I'd probably move to a heavier truck, or maybe something with a bit more power and/or gearing. For the few times a year that we travel with it, my truck gets the job done fine... even on long trips. We traveled well over 5000 miles this summer "out west", topping 10,000 ft at one point, and drove for days in high wind (30 to 40 mph head/cross wind, w/ 60 mph gusts). Keep in mind, that I've been towing for a long time, and started with a popup. Actually, towing the popup behind a minivan was the only real "nerve racking" experiences I've had. This camper actually pulls better than the last one we had (which was 22 ft, and 5000 lbs loaded).


Nice camper! What is it and how much was it if you don't mind me asking? I actually pulled a pop up with my old 96 Chevy S-10 Blazer and pulled it over 200 miles and it did fine. Glad we rented and tried it out cause pop ups SUCK!! lol Might as well just use a tent!

Edited by rusty01, 08 February 2012 - 02:58 PM.

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#6 music

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:58 PM

Nice camper! What is it and how much was it if you don't mind me asking? I actually pulled a pop up with my old 96 Chevy S-10 Blazer and pulled it over 200 miles and it did fine. Glad we rented and tried it out cause pop ups SUCK!! lol Might as well just use a tent!


Thanks! I just updated the link above with the camper make/model. They actually don't make this model anymore, since they changed the design of their Sunset Trail line. I drove a very long distance to get this one, since they didn't sell them around here. I saw a used one, and knew it was what I wanted (for build method), and it met all of my wife's wants for storage. I had completely gutted/rebuilt part of our last camper when water had gotten into a panel opening, so I had a very good idea of what I didn't want.

Just a bit of FYI: Many of the ultralights use panels that are made like ice cream sandwiches (panel + rigid foam + panel), with minimal structural framing. Not sure about today, but that's how the Passport series was built in '09 (I studied them pretty close). At the time, Crossroads used almuinum studs and floor joists on 16" centers, with conventional insulation, in all of their models. The flooring is 5/8 plywood (not OSB), the roof is 3/8 ply on 16" centered trusses, and every component is screwed together (rather than spot welded). I was, and still am, impressed with it and the company. It's a little heavier per foot than the "ultralights", but it's built solid. Since they no longer make this one, and ours had a bunch of factory options, pricing wouldn't mean much today... but it was a good bit more than similar sized Passport series campers when I was shopping (list price was quite a bit higher, maybe ~$7k+ higher iirc?). I'm *not* knocking the Passport campers... just trying to put the difference of build method & cost in perspective. Hope it helps.

Edit: Just checked Crossroads web site, and see that they have a new model that's similar to ours, but about a foot shorter, and a few hundred pounds lighter: http://www.crossroad...BH_2010&type=tt . It *appears* to be built similarly, but different colors... but I didn't look too closely.

Edited by music, 08 February 2012 - 07:55 PM.

DSC03060.JPG

2008 GMC Sierra CC Z71 4wd


#7 cntry_boy_77

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 12:56 PM

My parents own a Crossroads fifth wheel and like it very much. I'll have to take a look at them. Thanks for the link! I like this one: http://www.crossroad...=ST29BH&type=tt only if it had a deeper slide out! This is the Passport I've been looking at: http://www.keystone-...st&model=3220BH It's about 200 lbs heavier then my "calculation" of 5900 lbs. dry weight for my truck. Here's another one we're looking at: http://www.gillettes...?productid=1035 super light at just over 4,000 lbs.! I tell ya, this camper shopping is about driving me nuts!! lol

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#8 focijoe

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

My parents own a Crossroads fifth wheel and like it very much. I'll have to take a look at them. Thanks for the link! I like this one: http://www.crossroad...=ST29BH&type=tt only if it had a deeper slide out! This is the Passport I've been looking at: http://www.keystone-...st&model=3220BH It's about 200 lbs heavier then my "calculation" of 5900 lbs. dry weight for my truck. Here's another one we're looking at: http://www.gillettes...?productid=1035 super light at just over 4,000 lbs.! I tell ya, this camper shopping is about driving me nuts!! lol



Camper shopping does suck. Seems like there are millions of different companies and campers. This site has alot of info that might help in your search: http://www.rv.net/forum/

Edited by focijoe, 10 February 2012 - 05:04 PM.

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#9 cs300823

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:07 PM

2007 Silverado V-MAX 6.0L, w/ 'HD Tow Package'

Towing:
1990 Coachmen Catalina 27ft double axle. 6500# dry

Equipment:
Full weight distribution hitch w/ sway control
Transmission cooler (OEM)
Electric Brake Controller

Pulls like a charm.... but like others I have been towing for along time. :0)

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#10 Black J

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:46 PM

2011 sierra, 4.8, 3.42's, OEM trailer tow pack w/tranny cooler. Electric brake (te-somethin) 2008? cherokee 23 foot trailer (rental) 4700 pounds dry, 5000 wet, didnt take much with us... 150 pound generator, maybe 300 pounds stuff... say 5500 pounds plus 6 in the truck... pulled great. Little tough in the wind, but on a calm day, 12 MPG pullin in 3rd. (O/D would never have pulled) On a good hill, it would shift into 2nd (4000 RPM @60mph) It was heavy for a 23 foot. Truck definitely noticed it. Shortly before returning the trailer (on the way) I took it on the highway and mashed the pedal. Not bad.
This was when i first bought the truck, notice only 2500km on it. :) that was 8 months ago, or 10,000km

Edited by Black J, 21 February 2012 - 06:50 PM.

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#11 Carl B.

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:45 PM

With a family of 5 - truck, cargo, passengers, a 24' TT loaded with supplies for 5 - - - I think you would be over your GVWR. Not to mention somewhat cramped in an Extended Cab.

With family of 5 - I'd have a 2500HD Crew Cab at least. {matter of fact I do}.

As mentioned earlier - it is not only an ability to pull a certain load, while carrying another . It is an ability to STOP, to stay stable at highway speeds with trucks and cross winds etc. Also it is a matter of how much of your energy is drained by the drive - before you get to where your going.

I've towed the same 20' enclosed car hauler & car maybe 6500lbs total - with both a 1500 and 2500HD. It is Day and Night different. Other than short around town towing - I'd never recommend using a 1500 for your purpose, with your family.

As someone else said - just because it can be done - doesn't mean it should be. Get the right truck and enjoy the trip. The longer wheel base, larger brakes and additional room will make the trip a breeze.

good luck,
Carl B.

#12 mc7719

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 03:04 PM

With a family of 5 - truck, cargo, passengers, a 24' TT loaded with supplies for 5 - - - I think you would be over your GVWR. Not to mention somewhat cramped in an Extended Cab.

With family of 5 - I'd have a 2500HD Crew Cab at least. {matter of fact I do}.

As mentioned earlier - it is not only an ability to pull a certain load, while carrying another . It is an ability to STOP, to stay stable at highway speeds with trucks and cross winds etc. Also it is a matter of how much of your energy is drained by the drive - before you get to where your going.

I've towed the same 20' enclosed car hauler & car maybe 6500lbs total - with both a 1500 and 2500HD. It is Day and Night different. Other than short around town towing - I'd never recommend using a 1500 for your purpose, with your family.

As someone else said - just because it can be done - doesn't mean it should be. Get the right truck and enjoy the trip. The longer wheel base, larger brakes and additional room will make the trip a breeze.

good luck,
Carl B.


Agreed.

I tow as above, and only have TWO of us and a 60lb dog, and I'm almost right at my GCWR....

Edited by mc7719, 28 February 2012 - 03:05 PM.

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#13 latreille89

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:33 PM

With a family of 5 - truck, cargo, passengers, a 24' TT loaded with supplies for 5 - - - I think you would be over your GVWR. Not to mention somewhat cramped in an Extended Cab.

With family of 5 - I'd have a 2500HD Crew Cab at least. {matter of fact I do}.

As mentioned earlier - it is not only an ability to pull a certain load, while carrying another . It is an ability to STOP, to stay stable at highway speeds with trucks and cross winds etc. Also it is a matter of how much of your energy is drained by the drive - before you get to where your going.

I've towed the same 20' enclosed car hauler & car maybe 6500lbs total - with both a 1500 and 2500HD. It is Day and Night different. Other than short around town towing - I'd never recommend using a 1500 for your purpose, with your family.

As someone else said - just because it can be done - doesn't mean it should be. Get the right truck and enjoy the trip. The longer wheel base, larger brakes and additional room will make the trip a breeze.

good luck,
Carl B.


Only thing I don't get that everyone keeps saying is about stopping power... Isn't this why trailers have brakes??? Ive towed a 28' TT and I set my controller to stop the trailer where my brakes on the trucks are barely working... So I can't see how braking would be any issue. As for comfort, that's the drivers/family decision. Cross winds, I agree about that. If the truck isn't designed to handle the loads, could make for a nervous drive, a good set of sway and torsion bars can fix that though

#14 Black J

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:08 PM


With a family of 5 - truck, cargo, passengers, a 24' TT loaded with supplies for 5 - - - I think you would be over your GVWR. Not to mention somewhat cramped in an Extended Cab.

With family of 5 - I'd have a 2500HD Crew Cab at least. {matter of fact I do}.

As mentioned earlier - it is not only an ability to pull a certain load, while carrying another . It is an ability to STOP, to stay stable at highway speeds with trucks and cross winds etc. Also it is a matter of how much of your energy is drained by the drive - before you get to where your going.

I've towed the same 20' enclosed car hauler & car maybe 6500lbs total - with both a 1500 and 2500HD. It is Day and Night different. Other than short around town towing - I'd never recommend using a 1500 for your purpose, with your family.

As someone else said - just because it can be done - doesn't mean it should be. Get the right truck and enjoy the trip. The longer wheel base, larger brakes and additional room will make the trip a breeze.

good luck,
Carl B.


Only thing I don't get that everyone keeps saying is about stopping power... Isn't this why trailers have brakes??? Ive towed a 28' TT and I set my controller to stop the trailer where my brakes on the trucks are barely working... So I can't see how braking would be any issue. As for comfort, that's the drivers/family decision. Cross winds, I agree about that. If the truck isn't designed to handle the loads, could make for a nervous drive, a good set of sway and torsion bars can fix that though

Gotta remember, when you hit the brakes, all the weight shifts forward... (onto the truck)
trailer brakes make a big difference, but they dont help you in a curve, or when you're pushing wind?
The weight rating is just the start!
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#15 oldschool327

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:47 PM



With a family of 5 - truck, cargo, passengers, a 24' TT loaded with supplies for 5 - - - I think you would be over your GVWR. Not to mention somewhat cramped in an Extended Cab.

With family of 5 - I'd have a 2500HD Crew Cab at least. {matter of fact I do}.

As mentioned earlier - it is not only an ability to pull a certain load, while carrying another . It is an ability to STOP, to stay stable at highway speeds with trucks and cross winds etc. Also it is a matter of how much of your energy is drained by the drive - before you get to where your going.

I've towed the same 20' enclosed car hauler & car maybe 6500lbs total - with both a 1500 and 2500HD. It is Day and Night different. Other than short around town towing - I'd never recommend using a 1500 for your purpose, with your family.

As someone else said - just because it can be done - doesn't mean it should be. Get the right truck and enjoy the trip. The longer wheel base, larger brakes and additional room will make the trip a breeze.

good luck,
Carl B.


Only thing I don't get that everyone keeps saying is about stopping power... Isn't this why trailers have brakes??? Ive towed a 28' TT and I set my controller to stop the trailer where my brakes on the trucks are barely working... So I can't see how braking would be any issue. As for comfort, that's the drivers/family decision. Cross winds, I agree about that. If the truck isn't designed to handle the loads, could make for a nervous drive, a good set of sway and torsion bars can fix that though

Gotta remember, when you hit the brakes, all the weight shifts forward... (onto the truck)
trailer brakes make a big difference, but they dont help you in a curve, or when you're pushing wind?
The weight rating is just the start!


Actually if you use the trailer brakes the trailer acts like a boat anchor and drags the back end down instead if shifting forward.
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