: Need Advice: Towing a large TT
04-12-2010, 10:28 AM
Just wanted to pick the more educated brains here about towing a large TT with the Tundra. I work construction and am considering buying a trailer to live out of while on shorter jobs. With the economy the way it is most of the work is small capital stuff sometimes only lasting a few months. That being said I need to get a trailer that Iím comfortable living out ofÖif I canít do this Iíll just stick to living out of apartments but I like the idea of having my own place, even if it is a trailer.
The only travel trailers that I really have liked to far are the Open Range Journeyer TT340FLR and TT337RLS . I am a tall guy (6í3Ē) and these trailers have the head room I need in a large enough trailer I wonít feel too cramped.
I really think I would like the TT340FLR the best since it has a large under storage area however it is heavier then the 337. Hitch weight is 1270lbs and GVW is 11600. I know this hitch weight is pretty high and being even farther back over the axle versus a fifth wheel maybe it would be too much? I would have a dirt bike in the bed of my truck as well at 250lbs. I figured that with the large storage compartment being behind the axles in this trailer I could lighten the hitch weight a bit but I know you donít want it to get too light on such a heavy trailer.
The TT337RLS is essentially the same layout just flipped around rear lounge but it doesnít have any underneath storage which I would miss. Hitch weight is 780 lbs and GVW is 10400.
I would plan on purchasing a good WD hitch and already have 10 ply tires. Would do airbags as well if needed. Anyone have experience towing large TTís such as these? The 340FLS would definitely be my choice but itís considerably heavier especially with the hitch weight. Iíd love to have a fifth wheel but anything built like I would need it to live in (enough headroom up front over the living area for me and the 4 seasons package ect) seem to have hitch weights of around 1900lbs min and I think this would be too much although I know some do tow it. Iíd take any other trailer suggestions anyone had as well. What you guys think?
04-12-2010, 10:45 AM
How far do you have to tow and under what road conditions?
How often do you plan on towing?
Those are both heavy trailers and either will push the limits (Safety and Legal Liability; The Tundra can definitely handle either in terms of capability) of a Tundra especially if you're putting weight in the bed.
How comfortable are you violating rated capacities? This is a legal liability question. I know my insurer WILL NOT cover me in the event of an accident if I am beyond rated capacities (I asked, and was shown in the policy :eek:)
04-12-2010, 01:14 PM
This is a legal liability question. I know my insurer WILL NOT cover me in the event of an accident if I am beyond rated capacities (I asked, and was shown in the policy :eek:)
Hmmm, first I've heard of any insurer putting it in writing. Would like to know the company. Could you post the language from the policy? I need to check mine. I don't push most limits, but I'm usually over the GVWR of the Tundra.
04-12-2010, 04:15 PM
I asked last year when I started pulling the band's large trailer. I'll have to look it up to be exact. I do remember it is listed under the Exclusions regarding negligence. It doesn't specifically mention weights and weight ratings.
Knowingly and in some case (unknowingly) exceeding your weight limits could be considered negligent, this is how it was explained to me anyways.
Example 1: You know your trailer is heavy and possibly overweight, but you choose not to weigh it, a claims adjuster could easily say ("Based on the contents claimed, and the make/model of the tow vehicle and trailer combination, that combination was overweight and we're not paying"), now it's on you to prove it wasn't.
Example 2: You are in an accident and a cop cites you for speeding with your trailer and places fault for the accident on you. A claims examiner could easily say "We're not paying since you were negligent and chose to speed." (which is a criminal act as well and another possible grounds for exclusion depending on your policy verbiage)
I reviewed my policy since I was hauling equipment for the local high school and my insurance becomes primary when I haul the trailer. I also double checked with with my school district. Basically if I'm deemed negligent by any competent authority or a claims examiner/adjuster, (Overweight anywhere, over speed limit, insufficient maintenance, etc.) I eat it; and since I can't afford several tens of thousands of dollars of band equipment, I'm extra careful on weights, speed limits, maintenance documentation, tire pressure checks, lighting and electrical checks, etc.
Always read your policies especially the exclusions.
04-12-2010, 04:58 PM
I won't be towing any more than I have to. Probably end up being several times a year. Could be a long haul, maybe not who knows. I won't be doing weekend type trips or vacations and when hauling I'll definitely be taking my time. I'm used to towing, worked for a marina when I was younger and hauled many heavy boats. I just want to make sure before I make a big purchase I have a truck that can handle it. I realize in hindsight I probably should have purchased a 3/4 ton truck but I love my Tundra and am not getting rid of it.
04-12-2010, 04:59 PM
PS the weights I posted above were for the max of the loaded trailer. Unloaded trailer weights for both are 7800 and 8800 lbs
04-12-2010, 05:36 PM
I completely understand and agree about not wanting to get rid of the Tundra!
I saw that the weights were gross in your OP
The larger trailer is beyond the rated/listed capabilities of the Tundra, and the smaller of the two listed (gross) is right at the tow rating for the Tundra.
I'm not a member of the weight police ultimately, It's your truck tow whatever you feel comfortable and safe towing. I know of several people on this forum that push the weight limits farther than I personally would, but based on their reports and advice, I'd tow with them any day with out any fear.
If you can, test out the larger trailer fully loaded the way you want to travel and see if you think it will tow safely. Adjust speed for conditions use a good WDH system and possibly Air Bags to assist with the weight and keeping the frame off the bump stops.
The Tundra is a very capable truck and In my opinion is under rated for it's tow capacity. I'm confident that the Tundra is capable of handling the loads stated, the remaining questions are yours to answer:
Do you feel safe controlling your rig?
Are you OK with knowingly exceeding posted ratings?
You won't hear me say "go for it". That being said I am a bit paranoid and like to make sure I have a rather large buffer when i weigh the trailer that I tow because people are always adding things in that I don't have at the weigh in. I always tow other people's stuff, and sometimes I have passengers that are not my children so Safety and Liability are HUGE issues for me.
Enjoy your truck, enjoy your trailer but please keep your safety and the safety of others on the road as your number one priority especially when towing big. It really bothers me to see overloaded rigs sagging to the bump stops and swaying all over the road at 70+ MPH because the only thing that matters to that driver is getting to the destination as fast as possible.
04-12-2010, 05:53 PM
you buying new? what is the warranty on that trailer? do they warranty full timing in there trailers. if they don't and you need any warranty work done you will not be the first person that is SOL on a trailer. my family has been doing this sense the 70's (working all over the country, staying in rv's and hotels). we spent the 80's in a very large 5'r, but now have a house for home base. there is a big difference between camping out for the weekend and living full time in a RV. that said, i'd stay in one of our fifth wheels any day over and extended stay.
04-15-2010, 08:46 AM
I'm at about the same weight except instead of a 250lbs dirt bike I have a 562lbs golf cart in the bed of mine. No problems, tows just fine, 14,000 miles and counting.
04-15-2010, 01:17 PM
Yeah I'd be living out of the trailer the majority of the time. I was a bit apprehensive about doing this but since have talked to a whole bunch of construction guys and they love it. I like the idea of having my stuff all with me and being able to at least live in my "own" place. You have any recommendations or suggestions? I know about the warrenty issue but I would think it would be pretty hard to get proof I'm living "full time" as I own a home and wouldn't technically be in it at all times. As I said before if I knew I was going to go this route I may have bought a 3/4" ton truck as I could tow a 5'er and they are easier to find built like a true 4 seasons trailer then a TT. This is why I am looking at the open range models.
What are you weights? Are you using airbags and a WD hitch?
04-23-2010, 10:07 PM
I'd go with the 337 instead of the 340 because (we've been told) the axles are moved forward to reduce the hitch weight. We discussed that issue with the dealer before we ordered a Roamer.......the smallest Open Range because we too will have dirt bikes in the bed (most often, at least 2 or maybe even 3). Our outside access storage is also in the front. I'd have gone with the 337 but for the length, and the shorter 305 is unfortunately a heavier tongue weight. There are many lighter TT, but likely not built as well - and probably don't have as much head room. I know that they are not as well insulated as the Open Range's are. Just my opinions, for what they are worth. rider
04-23-2010, 11:28 PM
There is no possibly, you will need airbags or an add-a-leaf.
I'm in a similar situation, I'll work on the road, truck is loaded with gear, and I pull my house. My trailer is only 6500 GVW, and even with the truck being empty and the WD hitch being set, the suspension is still sagged out, I put my quad in the back, and tool boxes loaded up, and it needs help. I put airbags in, and it's a world of difference.
04-27-2010, 10:34 AM
Sweet thanks for the advice. Guess I'll have to plan on airbags.
Go for the air bags and if I was after a new camper I would go for a hensley hitch. Get the best sway control posible. I tow a 8500lb 5er NY to Fl 3 years in a row no problems. As far as insurance my wife was my agent untill we retired and she says being overweight will be covered. Most states use the road limit for overweight in Ny 80,000 lbs.
05-07-2010, 10:34 AM
If you're going for a TT I'd skip the airbags and go for shocks and leaf springs. The air bags + WD system makes for a touchy setup if you don't put the same amount of air in the bags each time as this changes the way the truck pivots over the rear axles. If you're going the 5er route I'd say get air bags definitely. I'm considering taking my off. The stock springs can cause porpoising on certain roads and all of the Tundra and F150 forums I've checked out says that better adjustable shocks are the only thing that can remove that bounce and airbags can make it worse.
05-14-2010, 03:12 PM
Just read your post and I'm in pretty much the same situation. I'm an airline pilot and based in Michigan (for now), but live in Scottsdale, AZ, and have no intention of moving my base camp. Before I get going I know this post is ridiculously long, but I really wanted to share my past 4+ months of research with you.
I too decided that I was going to look into an RV instead of spending $900 a month on hotel rooms for all the same reasons you stated.
Just a disclaimer, everything I'm telling you is "in theory" because I won't actually put anything to the test until next Wednesday when I pick up my new used travel trailer.
I started researching the idea about 4 and half months ago, and have spent pretty much every free minute I could reading and talking to people.
I knew I was going to need another vehicle if I bought an RV either to tow or tow with and I decided that I might as well buy a truck and towable RV vs. a Class C or Class A. I bought my 2007 Tundra CrewMax Limited 4X4 back in February after looking at every imaginable truck out there. I probably bought the Tundra before I had a really good idea what I was going to haul with it, but I just had no interest in anything that Detroit is putting out and didn't want a 3/4 or 1 ton for a daily driver. Plus the fit and finish and options list on the Tundra is so far beyond any domestic truck is ridiculous. IMO the Tundra on paper is probably more than your average 1/2 ton truck. In fact it's probably somewhere between a 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton. If you had to point out a downside to the Tundra it would probably have to be the payload. Which is going to hinder you throwing a motorcycle in the back of the truck while pulling a TT, yourself, and whatever else you put in the truck. Like the other guys have said, doesn't mean you can't do it, but I don't see how you won't be over payload, and obviously will require a little more work on your part to get it done.
Anyway, I knew that I wanted a bunkhouse because my wife and two kids would be staying with me all summer in MI, and then we plan on using the RV as a vacation tool down the road. Right there I knew I was going to need at least a 30+ ft RV so it ruled a lot of them out.
At first I wanted a travel trailer. Then I decided that they didn't make a TT that could withstand a MI winter so I decided I wanted a 5th wheel. But then after some more investigation I decided that I didn't want to spend $3000 on a pullrite hitch right now, and I just wasn't comfortable pulling a a 5th wheel with my 5.5ft bed (that's just me). Plus with the added weight of a 5th wheel there was no way I was going to be able to get as big of a 5th wheel as I could a TT. So I just kinda of gave up on the whole idea for a couple weeks all together.
After more work and talking to literally hundreds of people, I decided that with work and preparation the right travel trailer would be doable to kinda full time in, even through the winter, so I set back to work learning as much as I could. Before I even started looking at different brands of TT's I figured out what it was going to take to make it through that MI winter. Then, after that I was done I started to look for a TT that would make the whole winter thing a little easier.
I swear, I think there must be about 5 million RV manufactures. Everyone and there brother is building an RV these days and I think I must have walked through 2.5 million of them :). After looking for a while, I realized that every manufacture within a certain price range was giving you a similar floor plan and similar options, so it came down to who had the best build quality, highest quality materials, and best reputation. After some narrowing down it was between an Arctic Fox and the Keystone Cougar. I know there are nicer custom trailers out there, but this is my first foray into the RV world, and I didn't want to be buried in case I needed to get out quick.
In the end the Cougar won out. I think the Arctic Fox is a better trailer, but the heavier weight and higher price tag put it out of reach for the time being. Keystones have good resale value and a known name which I like. I'm 6-4 and built like an NFL linebacker so use of space was important for me as well. The Keystone was one of the few TT I looked at that had a shower I could stand and turnaround in. I can't say it enough, get in the shower of every TT you are looking at. You may feel silly but you will be glad you did. I laid on the bed to make sure it was comfortable as well. The Keystone just gave me the best bang for the buck. When I found a barley used 2010 Keystone Cougar 298BHS for $19K that sealed the deal! It comes with everything I need, has higher insulation values than it's competitors, and a fully enclosed and heated underbelly. Of the mass produced TT I think that it will hold up best with the kind of time I'm planning on being in it.
Now I needed a WDH/Sway control system to pull it all with. I looked at that Equal-i-zer, the Pullrite, the Hensley Arrow, the Propride, and the Reese Dual Cam setup. There is no doubt that the Pullrite, Hensley and the Propride are the best setups. But again since this is my first go around I just couldn't justify $2500+ right now. The Equal-i-zer is the tried and true hitch, but from what I gather the days of friction sway control are giving way to the cam systems found in the Reese. Every single person I talked to who has used both say the Equal-i-zer controls sway well, but the Reese does a better job of controlling sway than the Equal-i-zer. The Reese DC is a little more complicated to install and a little more expensive, but that added benefits are worth it to me. The whole Reese setup costs about $150 more than the similar Equal-i-zer so it was a good compromise in terms of form, function, price and safety. If this is something we stick with I will probably consider purchasing one of the more expensive systems mentioned before somewhere down the road. Needless to say, I purchased the Reese DC Trunion bar system.
Being a pilot I have an excellent understanding of weight and balance. If your airplane is loaded wrong then you might never get off the ground and if you do you might not fly very far (both bad situations). That being said most airplanes will fly far above their max take-off weight...as long as they are load properly. I'm assuming the same goes for the Tundra.
Again this all theory, but I have run the numbers six ways from Sunday and I'm comfortable the Tundra can pull my trailer. I do not plan on exceeding any of the Tundra's weight limitations, but I will be close. The dry weight on the trailer is 7900. GTWR is 10,875, which I will obviously never see. I plan on being somewhere between 9000 and 9500 when the trailer is loaded. That includes everything I plan on putting in the trailer. I don't plan on dry camping much if at all, but I also figured some water and LP gas into that number to make sure that I can stop along the way if need be. I have figured the tounge weight to be between 1000 and 1200. For now it will just be me and my stuff in the Tundra so I will be well below max payload. I'm driving out from AZ next Wednesday to pick up the TT in Williamsport, IN. The current owner of the TT and I are going to install the hitch there and then I will continue the 250 miles to MI. The TT will be parked on a seasonal camp site for probably at least the rest of the year. We may take a weekend excursion here and there, but that will be about it. I plan on having the truck and trailer weighed ASAP so I know exactly what I'm working with.
My wife, kids, and two Jack Russel's will be driving out from AZ a couple weeks later in our Honda mini van, and bringing the rest of our crap with them. Now, once I put my wife, 6 year old, 15 month old, the two dogs, and their crap in the Tundra I'm sure I will be at or just over max payload. I'm planning on having airbags installed for this contingency should we want to take that weekend excursion. Even if we are just slightly over, I will feel comfortable with it as long as I have some form of suspension upgrade (but again, that's just me.) I plan on having the truck re-weighed to see where I'm at once the whole family and all their crap is in the truck and trailer. If it's just too much weight we will have the Honda so we can take two cars. That will be a pain in the ***, but since we don't plan on traveling too far, and my family's safety is worth it, so be it.
I will let you know how everything goes. I'm sure there is more to tell, but I'm tired of typing and I'm sure you are tired of reading. If you have more questions, just ask I'll do my best to get back with you in a timely manner.
05-19-2010, 09:40 PM
The Tundra is not a 1/2 ton truck. There I said it. http://www.irv2.com/forums/images/smilies/angry.gif But I'm sure I'm not telling anyone on this sight anything they don't already know.
I don't believe it is a true 3/4 ton truck, but it is definitely more than your typical 1/2 ton. As I said before, the only real weakness (and the term weakness is relative) of the Tundra is its stated payload. More on why I say this later.
I picked up my new TT on Tuesday morning and the whole experience was a hoot.
I arrived at the sellers house around 10 in the morning. I had had the hitch I ordered shipped straight to the sellers house to make sure it was there when I got there, and to save me from hauling the extra weight all the way across the country. We started installing the Reese Straight Line DC WDH/Sway control hitch after he gave me a quick tour of the trailer to make sure it was as describe. Well...Okay... the guy I was buying the trailer from started to install the hitch and I just helped hold stuff. This guy was a pro. It was obvious he possessed this skill set and knew exactly what he was doing. A few disclaimers. This guy was a machinist, a mechanic, and a carpenter. He was completely set up and ready to go when I got there. And he had had the hitch to look at over the weekend, so he had already read the instructions and formulated a plan of action. Not to mention he had every type of professional tool you could think of. He had the whole hitch installed and perfectly set up in about an hour and a half, it may have even been a little less than that. Would I have been able to install the hitch by myself? Yes, but it would have taken MUCH longer and I would have had to buy some new tools. If you plan on doing this yourself, figure out exactly what you need before you start or this could turn into a really expensive hitch by the time you factor in all the new tools you need to buy to install it. Not to mention the time involved running back and forth between the hardware store. Spend some time reading about the mechanics of the hitch and how it works. It will make it seem much more intuitive when you go to install it.
If anyone is interested, I ordered the hitch from rvwholesalers.com. The whole set up (1200/12,000 pound version) cost me $615 to my door. They weren't very helpful, but the price was right and the shipping was quick. If you get the Reese, make sure you order a shank and ball, as neither is included in the kit.
With the hitch installed the front of the truck stayed perfectly level and the rear squatted about a 1/2 inch. There was nothing in the trailer except for some water in the holding tanks, maybe about 60-65 gallons total in the various respective tanks (500 to 600 pounds). The tongue weight of the empty trailer is stated as 715. Logic would dictate that as the trailer weight is increased so does the tongue weight. Using the same ratio, at 8500 pounds, the tongue would be around 800 (realistically probably somewhere between 1000-1100, maybe a little less). The truck, however, was evenly loaded down with all my crap (probably 200-300 pounds) for my extended stay in the trailer. There is also a hard tonneau cover on the bed which I'm guessing weighs 100 to 150 pounds, and the Toyota rubber bed mat (it's a heavy SOB), and a spray in bed liner. What I'm trying to say is I have no idea exactly how much payload I had in the truck. I'm probably estimating on the high side for everything, but again who know for now.
I said I had no intention of violating any of the weights, but I'm guessing I was pretty close on payload if not over a little. I probably would have been better served to move all the crap from the truck into the trailer before I took off, but I didn't. I know I also said I was going to get weighed, but in the short trip up to MI from IN I just didn't get it done. I figured the truck and trailer would probably never be loaded this way again so it wasn't going to do me much good to know the weight in this configuration. What I really want to do is get the truck and trailer weighed when both are empty (except for full fuel in the truck) so I have a jumping off point. It's much easier to determine the exact weight of things you are putting into the truck and trailer so I surmise if I have a jumping off point it will make it much easier to know what I can and can not bring. I also have way more crap with me now than I'm ever likely to haul around for general camping because I'm going to be part timing it on a seasonal lot for the foreseeable near future as opposed to driving from site to site.
On the road, the Tundra, the hitch, and the TT performed perfectly. If I didn't say it already, I'm using the Prodigy brake controller set at 7.5 (it may need a little more as the trailer weight increases) and the boost setting at number 1. The Tundra pulled the trailer effortlessly. It was solid, smooth, and never once did it feel overwhelmed. The braking was superb as well. At one point some idiot talking on her cell phone cut me off as she tried to merge from an on ramp forcing me to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting her. Not even a hint of upset. The Tundra's brakes combined with the brake controller bled off the speed flawlessly, and more importantly, in a straight line. This can also be attributed to the Reese hitch. The Reese is one beefy setup. Yes it adds weight, and yes it's a little more than the Equal-i-zer, but man am I glad I ponied up and got it. After 250 short miles I will tell everyone who will listen to use this hitch. I know I have nothing to compare it too, but I can't imagine anything else would do any better, especially for the price. I drove on paved and unpaved roads yesterday. I drove on highways, city streets, and rural two lane highways and back roads. It was wet, dry, and even muddy at some points. It rained for a little while, and there were moderate wind gusts. I kept watching my mirrors, waiting for this white knuckle trailer sway phenomenon I kept hearing about for the past couple weeks, but it never came. The Tundra, hitch, and trailer just tracked straight as an arrow the whole way no matter what. I do not think I could have artificially created a better test run environment than I had yesterday.
As far as the Tundra goes...what an awesome truck. http://www.irv2.com/forums/images/smilies/thumb.gif Great ride, great engine, great brakes. And all combined with the features and options that I want in a vehicle. I think the Tundra is a perfect compromise between the everyday drivability of a 1/2 ton and the function of a 3/4 ton. Like I said before, I'm not telling you the Tundra is a true 3/4 ton truck, but I am telling it is more than a 1/2 ton truck. I can't say enough how impressed I was with power and towing ability of the Tundra, and all in such a refined package. I am still going to make every effort to stay within the limitations of the truck, but I would not hesitate to tow right up to the stated limits of the truck. I would have no probably driving this truck and trailer combination all over the country on a regular basis, even in the mountains of AZ where I live. Without the trailer I was averaging 65.5 MPH in all conditions and on all roads, or what amounted to between 70-75 on the highway most of the time. Once the trailer was hooked up, my average dropped to about 62.5 for the entirety trip. I drove between 55 and 65 MPH on the highway depending upon road grade to try and save a little on fuel. Up to the point I picked up the trailer, I averaged about 17.5 MPG. Once the trailer was behind me, and with the truck in tow mode, my average MPG plummeted to 8.5. But I expected this so it wasn't really a surprise. All this info came from the on board travel computer built into the Tundra.
I will say that if I do plan on getting closer to the max weights, and do start to haul this thing around on a regular basis, I will most certainly invest in some type of suspension upgrade. I haven't really started to investigate that yet, but I'm intrigued by the airbags. I learned so much from people here I would love to hear what they have to say on this issue of suspension upgrades. I will also add the "E" rated tires next time I swap out, which should be another 7000 miles or so.
As for the Keystone, I feel like a kid at Christmas. I kept looking at it in the mirror thinking how cool it was that I was pulling around a little....okay a big piece of freedom. I can't wait to take this thing out west. When I got to the campsite, the nice people at Woodchip took the time to help me get set up since it was my first attempt and I was alone. It was pretty easy, and fun to boot. Having only spent a few hours in it I can't really comment on it yet, but so far so good. It appears to be a very nice well built trailer, and family friendly, but only time will tell. It's helps that it's basically brand new with all the latest features. I'm 6-04 and 270 pounds, but it doesn't feel tight at all. I took a shower last night, and while it was a different experience, I had plenty of room. I'm sure once the rest of the family and all their stuff shows up it will feel a little smaller. Remember I do spend a good deal of my life in a small sealed cockpit, so this make has some effect on my perspective. I am happy I went with the Cougar over the other brands I looked at. I will update on the good and bad as I spend more time in the trailer. I will say right off the bat that the queen mattress sucks. It was like sleeping on a bed of bare coils. I had to leave on a trip this morning, but when I get back on Friday I plan to out and find a more comfortable one to replace it with since I'm going to be spending so much time on it. The trick is to find one that is comfortable and doesn't way a ton. Costco here I come. One other thing that comes to mind is that storage, especially hanging space, is tight. And again, I'm big, which means big cloths. It will be a challenge to find space for everything once everyone gets here. I'm a neat freak, and a little OCD, so I hate clutter. In such a small space everything will have to be put away one way or another.
I have to go to bed now. I'm really tired and all my words are starting to blur together. I think I covered the nuts and bolts of it all. Anything I left out just let me know. I'm not claiming to be an expert because I towed a trailer 250 miles, I just wanted to relate what I have learned over the past few months and my towing experience, especially as it relates to other Tundra owners with similar questions.
Thanks again for all the help. I don't think I would have made it without it.