what can i pull?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by ben1, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. ben1

    ben1 New Member

    hi im ben and im so confused about gvw gvcw gvwr aand all the abreviations!! what i want to know is what can i pull? i have a dodge 1500 4x4 with a 318 and a auto tranny. i have helper springs and a full tow package in cluding a takonsha brake system thingy! im looking at 5th wheels 1st and travel trailers 2nd. im hoping to be in the 25-29 foot range with a bump out but im to big on those relly high 5th wheels so a lower profile is prefable to me. when i see all those gv.. abb's i get confused, what should i be looking at weight wise?? my truck says its gvwr is 6400 and its gcwr is 12000 and its max trailer weight is 7200. what does that mean?? does it mean i cant pull anything over 7200lbs? when i see a trailer how do i know what the loaded and unloaded weight are?? lastly im planning on going in the rockys with this thing so whats a safe lbs to look at?? thanks so much
     
  2. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Hi Ben, It goes something like this: GVWR is the approximate weight of your truck. The GCWR is the combined weight of a trailer and truck. Truck 6400lbs + Trailer 7200lbs = 11600lbs. So yes it means you shouldn't tow a trailer over 7200lbs. Actually if you plan to tow in the Rockys, I wouldn't try anything over 5000lbs with a 318 engine and automatic trans. Some of the mountains in the Rockys have 6 percent grades for many miles. I would suggest not going any bigger than 25' max. Hope this helps. Have fun camping.
     
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Ben, GVWR is the MAXIMUM weight your truck is supposed to be at, with all fluids, passengers, accessories and cargo. Exceeding this may or may not cause your truck to wear excessively and/or cause an accident. But exceeding any truck rating greatly increases your chances of being taken to the cleaners by lawyers after an accident.

    There are also maximum weights for the front axles (generally not a problem) and rear axles (with a 5th wheel, this can easily be exceeded since 10 - 20% of the trailer weight is over the rear truck axle). Generally in a 1/2 ton pickup there is only 500 - 1000 pounds difference between the truck empty (curb weight) and the GVWR, and don't forget that the 4x4 option is not light, and neither is a (good) hitch.

    As DL says, the GCVW is the MAXIMUM weight of both the truck and anything hitched to the truck. So if that is 12000 pounds, and your truck is 5500 pounds by itself, that would allow for a trailer of 6500 pounds. So I don't know how they can claim a maximum trailer weight of 7200 unless your truck is really light for a 1/2 ton.

    Historically, towing more than 5000 pounds with a 1/2 ton pickup truck has been unsatisfactory. The newer trucks seem to be getting more efficiant at towing, so perhaps that is no longer the case. Also, a higher gear ratio seems to make for better towing, at the cost of low end acceration and gas mileage.

    So, your first step should be to find a vehicle scale, and weigh your truck fully loaded with everything and everyone you plan to carry (including a full gas tank). Also get the weight on the rear axel so loaded. Record these critical 'curb weights'. This will tell you how much weight you can add to the truck via hitch and tongue/pin weight. You may find out you can pull a heavier travel trailer than you can a 5th wheel, since travel trailers apply less of their weight to the tow vehicle than 5ers do, and the height is less for less wind resistance.

    One last thing, remember that gas engines are not the best for pulling a load up a hill, and 318 is fairly small as gas engines go. If you do plan to tow even 5000 pounds up a hill, be prepared to do it slowly :) And if you don't have a transmission temperature gauge, get one, cause most transmission problems are caused by fluid breakdown, and overheated fluid breaks down very very quickly.

    If you do go with a travel trailer, pay close attention to the hitch you get, and get the best you can. Travel trailers can be the 'tail that wags the dog' if the hitch does not have the correct features or is not set up right.

    Oh, and another thing. When you do go looking for a trailer, don't pay much attention to the 'dry' weight claimed. It is not reliable (may not include all the options installed in the trailer) and does not include luxuries you put in the trailer, like food, water, clothes, and the parts to allow you to hook up to electricity, water and sewer. Its a good idea to take a finalist trailer to the scale and see what it REALLY weighs empty. If you shop for trailers by their GVWR (maximum weight) you are less likely to exceed your truck ratings, and if you get the true dry weight, you know how much stuff you can cram into it.
     
  4. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    ben1, Please forgive my early morning addition of 6400 + 7200 = 11600lbs obviously it = 13600lbs. I must have been assuming it would equal less than the GCVW of 12000lbs, so as John has suitably said " I don't know how they can claim a maximum trailer weight of 7200 pounds".
     
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    DL Rupper,

    John gave you some very good advice.

    The weight rating, GVWR is not what the truck weighs. GVWR is the maximum that your truck is designed to carry on it's wheels. That means the weight of the truck, everything that you put into it and also the weight that is added to it when you connect it to a trailer. Trailers always add weight to the tow vehicle. A fifth wheel has a major share of the weight riding in the bed of the truck, usually about 30 - 40%. If you pull a Travel Trailer that connects to a hitch at the rear of the truck the minimum for safe towing is to have 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue of the hitch and often it will go as high as 20%. That means that if you tow a trailer that weighs 7400#, at least 740# of that will be on the truck and will then be a part of the gross weight (GVWR) of the truck. Also, many people put things in the truck when they tow, and everything that you put into the truck will increase the trucks weight or GVWR.

    The GCWR, or gross combined weight rating is the maximum weight that you can safely have the truck, trailer and everything put into either to weigh. Since a significant part of the trailer weight is part of the GVWR, you can not add GVWR to the max. tow weight to find the GCWR.

    These ratings are for things like safety and mechanical reliability and are not numbers that magically make everything work satisfactorily. With a 318 engin, you will find that it will be extremely slow if you tow the maximum safe load. It very normal for loaded RVs to travel up the passes at 45mph or less when loaded. With the engine that you have, I would very much doubt that you can maintain 40mph on many of the mountain passes. Also remember that the weights you are looking at mean all weight with tanks full and all people and things in them when weighed. If you tow the maximum weight, expect to have to down shift on all major hills and to be driving in first gear on the steeper mountain passes of the Rocky Mountains. The 318 that we had did very well when we towed a pop-up but when we got our first self contained trailer that was 22' long it had to work very hard on the passes. We lived in Cheyenne, WY at that time and spend most of our time in one area or another of the mountains.
     
  6. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Kirk, 30 - 40% of a 5ver weight is applied to the truck? I always thought the industry standard was 10-20% (properly loaded, of course). Don't have any experiance with travel trailers, but I was operating under the impression that tongue weight was generally only a few hundred pounds, since the hitches I've seen were only rated for maybe 500 pounds tongue weight.
     
  7. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Hey Kirk, The info was for ben1, not me :laugh: . I can't add worth a **** :bleh: , but I was just trying to keep it fairly simple when ben1 said he was confused about GVWR and GCVR and I told him GVWR was approx weight of his truck ;) . Since a dodge 1500 can't pack too much of a load, I rounded off and said approx weight. :clown: Again I was trying not to get too technical, since ben1 said he was already confused. I told him GCVW was the combined weight of truck and trailer. For most practical purposes you will be just fine using those ballpark figures :eek: . My 5ver by the way, has 18% of its weight riding in the truck. Most large 5ver's only have 2,ooolbs (15%)on the king-pin, supported by the truck. Small 5'vers have about 1,000lbs max(13%) riding in the truck. The key is to have a disproportionate amount of the trailer weight forward of the trailer wheels, so the trailer won't sway while being towed :laugh: . As long as you don't exceed the combined weight, as I compute it, you won't get into trouble. If an RV'er uses a little common sense :clown: , he doesn't have to get too technical :laugh: . When you hook up a 36', 4/5 slide, 18,000lb, 5ver, to a short bed, 3/4 ton diesel and proceed down the road, is when you will get into real trouble :8ball: . I've seen this combination many times. Personally I wouldn't tow a pop-up up a mountain with a gas powered small block v-8 :angry: . I love the smell of diesel :approve: :cool: :laugh: :) .
     
  8. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Of course, going down is where you really have fun with a heavy trailer and a small tow vehicle. We were stuck for several hours when a big trailer decided to beat the Suburban towing it down a hill and closed off the entire westbound freeway laying across both lanes on its side...
     
  9. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    I think the manufacturers are really pressing the envelope with their absurd tow ratings for the 2500/3500 pickups :dead: . The drive train and springs may take the weight :laugh: , but the little pickups are giving too much weight differential away to effectively control a large (15/18,000lb)trailer :( . They just want to sell more pickups and the RV manufactures want to convince everyone they should tow their house down the road. What ever happened to camping :question: Amen
     
  10. Scott Idaho

    Scott Idaho New Member

    what can i pull?

    Do you think the heavier suspension 1/2 ton with the 5.3L and 4.10 gears could safely pull a 25ft Komfort 5er with a gvwr of 8100# and a supposed dry weight of 5100#.
    Thanks for the help. Also what does the 6.0L get for mileage?
     
  11. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Scott, probably not. It might be able to tow it empty, but who would want to tow a trailer with no food, no water, no sewage, no propane and no gear? Besides, even if it would tow the trailer safely, that 5.3L engine may not be great for getting it up a hill (my 6.0L has trouble).

    My truck gets about 13 mpg around town, not towing. Towing at the speed limit, it gets 8.2 mpg, at 60 MPH it gets 9.8 mpg and at 55 MPH, it gets 10.2 mpg. Plus its a lot less stressful (for me at least) to be the slowest thing on the road :)
     
  12. Scott Idaho

    Scott Idaho New Member

    what can i pull?

    hertig,
    Do you think that it is worth the diesel or the 6.0L or the 8.1L? I really appreciate your input as I am about to purchase a tv.
    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  13. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    Depends on your usage and finances. If you are going to use the vehicle only for towing (and perhaps carrying heavy loads), then a diesel is very attractive. The diesel engine is reputed (never had one before and haven't used the one I just got yet :) ) to be much better than a gas engine at pulling up hills. I understand that the initial cost and maintenance costs are higher. Diesel costs more in many parts of the country, but mileage is reputed to be enough better to cancel that out. There is something called 'biodiesel' which can power the diesel engine 'without modification', which may be an important factor in the future.

    On the other hand, depending on where you are, diesel may be harder to find, and it is much harder to handle in cold climates (the fuel gels, and the engine requires an additional heater). Allegedly, there is a bacteria which grows in diesel, and condensation can be a major problem. For around town use, the diesel may be less pleasant. The engines are often noiser, smellier, and have a bit of a delay (getting shorter, but still there) from the time you turn the ignition on until you can start the engine. Also, the diesel engine has lots of torque, but not always as much acceleration as an equivalent gas engine.

    I've always thought poorly of diesel engines until the first time I towed my 5ver up a hill. During that trip (and subsequent ones), I often wished I had a diesel. However since I use the truck as my main vehicle for 11.5 months of the year and only tow for 2 weeks, I have managed ok.

    In gas engines, bigger is better for towing but more costly. If you go with the 6.0L engine, it is a great around town engine and an adequate medium weight towing engine (it will get maybe 7000 pounds of trailer up a hill, just not quickly). The 8.1L almost certainly would be better for towing, but at a cost of significantly lower gas milage, particlarly when not towing.
     
  14. s.harrington

    s.harrington Senior Member

    what can i pull?

    what it means is that a tow weight of 7200 lbs doesn't void your warranty. However the Gross Combination weight cannot exceed 12000 lbs. (by law). So if you have 6400lbs in your truck you can only pull a trailer weighing 5600lbs. Most states don't check but don't go through Colorado if you're oveeloaded.
     
  15. Rick78EFI460

    Rick78EFI460 New Member

    RE: what can i pull?

    I found this ancient post in a search, had to drag it up, too bad there isn't a tv forum.....anyhoo I have a lower geared 4X4 suburban with a 5.3 vortec and a 26' Keystone hideaway travel trailer, and a chev one ton dually with the 7.4L ( 454) vortec. The 5.3 (towing) is a dud over 55 mph on flat ground with any wind, The Dealers tell me that the sub is good for 8500 lbs....I call B.S. The R.V. dealers tell me my hideaway is 5000 lbs, but it has 7 foot ceilings so it is aerodynamically challenged.
    The big block on the other hand...WOW. at 20 mph moving the right pedal from a quarter to a bit over half will light the duals !! On the highway I think the big block is better on fuel (11-13) while towing than the 5.3 (9-11). Problem is that the fuel economy doesn't improve much with dropping the trailer. The sub can get over 20 mpg empty. Travelling at highway speeds with the cruise on the 7.4L does not care if its uphill or down, it will hold the set speed. I don't mind spending the extra on gas because the handling and power make the trip soooo much easier and comfortable. Not many things worse than a gutless tow vehicle that gets pushed round by a trailer to add stress to a holiday.
    I'd take too much truck over too much trailer anyday.
     

Share This Page