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  #1  
Old 05-16-2012, 06:33 AM
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Default Towing with a 3500 Longhorn - Need Quick Advice Please deal and my marriage pending

I have a 2011 3500 Laramie Longhorn 4x4 SRW SB 6.7 Cummins, 3.73 diff.

I traded my 08 Ram 1500 SLT and bought this truck hoping to pull a retirement trailer but now I'm running into a confused state and become extremely frustrated!!! Specs!!! I knew I wouldn't be able to pull a luxury Park Model but one would think an 10-11000lb Big Horn or a Montana or a 12000lb Brookstone would not be a problem.

The trailer I'm looking at is a 2009 Big Horn 3670 5th Wheel...
Dry weight 10820lbs
Pin Weight 2096lbs
Gross Maxium Weight 15000lbs (This is what axles are rated to carry and I will never hit)

I start to run the math

Longhorn GVWR 10100lbs
Curb/Base Weight 7407lbs (I don't think this includes a full tank of fuel)
Payload 2690lbs
Max Tow Cap - 13450lbs
GCWR 21000lbs

Everything looks good, Dry weight of the 5th wheel leaves 2630lbs room to the max towing cap. Room for the Generator(500lbs), Sat Dish (150lbs) and Washer and dryer (another 250lbs conservative)

BUT WAIT

now we add 500lbs for passengers, snacks, grandkids and grand dogs in the truck, throw on that 250lbs for the washer and dryer my wife wants installed (which sits almost on top of the pin) in the trailer and poof, I'm over on the payload. On top of this I still haven't added 125 liters of fuel.

2096+500+250+175 (for the hitch) and subtract 150(for the passenger/driver already included)=2871lbs + fuel of payload sitting on the box and through the truck,

I'm still under for GCWR and max towing rate (I believe).

The other thing is base weight + Payload puts me over the GVWR of the truck.

2871+7407=10278lbs-150 (for the passenger/driver already included) + Fuel

I run into this same scenerio for almost every 5th wheel I look at.

Most of the units we would consider buying run between 10000 and 14000lbs dry with pin weights running between 1900 and 2300lbs. All are too heavy if you do the math.

Everyone I talk to assures me that the truck can take these type of loads and think I'm over analyzing the situation,

but is it legal and is it safe to tow like this??

What if I blow a tranny, will it be covered by warranty?

Did I buy the wrong truck? I think I would have bought the dually had I known I was going to lose half my towing capability.. but more on this later.

Anyway, what really irks me is that before I bought the truck, sales reps were all over me like a dirty shirt assuring me I could pull just about anything on a RV lot. I got the same thing from the RV Dealerships and proceeded with the deal.

Now that I'm seriously looking to buy the 5th Wheel, the RV sales reps all look at me now like I have 2 heads when I tell them I can't pull a unit, that it is too heavy; that the truck is only rated for a 13450lb max trailer capacity; At least until I pull up the towing chart I got from the RAM website. After they examine the chart, they just walk away shaking their heads, muttering, "I don't believe that, I've got people pulling these with 3/4 tons".

Just yesterday I saw a 3500 SRW Chev pulling a 16000lb Toyhauler loaded to the gills. The owner says he doesn't even notice the weight and I'm sure that most of you will tell me that my Longhorn would do the same, but I'm throwing this out to you experts who are pulling these big units so you can show me where my logic is flawed and reassure me that I won't have to unhitch my trailer and leave it somewhere because i'm illegal and most of all that it is SAFE to pull these types of units.

This is long winded and I apologize, but I need the piece of mind. I lost my parents to an accident and I don't want wife and I to be taken out by having a 5th Wheel pin come through the truck for us. And I definitely do not want to take anyone else out by having the 5th wheel jump off the truck.

The last thing, and this really confuses the heck out of me. Look at the specs on the new 2012 Longhorn 4x4, SRW and Duallies. These don't make sense to me at all. (Taken from (http://www.ramtruck.ca/en/3500/3500_ST)
Figures converted from Kilograms on site to pounds multiplying by 2.2)

SWR 149.5 DRW 169.5 DRW160.5

Curb 7392 7939.8 8021.2
GVWR 10078.2 12273.8 10478.6
Payld 2884.2 4331.8 2455.6
TowCap 13422.2 12872.2 12773.2

What I read here is that the SRW unit has a smaller payload but a greater towing capacity than its dually brothers. Coming from the official Canadian Ram Website it MUST be right. Right??

ARG!!! Confusion, my head, my head ...

The only tow experience I have right now is that I received in the military where you jumped into a 5/4 ton or duece and a half, locked up to the heaviest trailer you could find, dragged it 300 kms to a training area then bounced around the field with it for a few weeks playing cowboys and indians...

Please help and enlighten me!!!

Kindest regard,

Pte Jack
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:51 AM
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I havent really ever towned much in the form of big weight when it wasnt a tractor/trailor but I can tell you think.

My friends F350 pulls his 5th wheel like a dream and it is about 2200 lbs over his "capacity". My money is on you could hook up to it an pull it across the country and never have 1 problem that wasnt "user error" (think forgetting to put the gas cap back on)


As far as a problem like the trans blowing up while towing or something like that. Take the 5th wheel off take it in and dont tell em your trailer is a little over weight
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:15 AM
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With the 3500 you could tow my 3800sqft house my man!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:33 PM
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I'm impressed! You have done a great job of your calculations.

Basically, with a pin weight that high, DRW would be the way to go, as the extra payload capacity would keep you in the clear right across the board.

My big question though, is the pin really that heavy, or is that estimated. As for the truck carrying that amount of weight, the limitation is the rear tires. The rest of the drivetrain is the same for SRW/DRW.

Under the circumstances, it may be necessary to weight everything on a scale to find out what the actual weights are, as these are what will determine the legality of the setup. It may be necessary to move some items for the truck to the back of the trailer to meet regulations if you stay with SRW.

In the end, it is not about what the truck 'can' handle, but more about the rules and regulations.

I wish I could have found an error in your calculations to bring you some great news, but your math and understanding is better than most.
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2012, 06:40 PM
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Thanks for your answer Brad I appreciate it and thanks for the compliment, (Great name BTW, same as mine..)

Unfortunately, the truck is mine already so the SRW is the only option. I had asked for the 4.10 rear end on the SRW when I was dealing but was told it wasn't currently available in any of the Alberta inventories at the time and was congratulated on having one of the most decked out trucks in Canada when I signed the papers.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda.... Flip!!!

As for the pin and dry weight of the unit, that's right off the trailer specs from the factory. You have to remember that the GVWR of the unit is 15500 so when they built it most of the weight was distributed to the pin to allow for more cargo to be added in the rear.

I just got off the phone with the Dodge dealership, they're saying that throwing airbags on to the truck will increase payload, but my concern is that the GVWR and GCWR doesn't change, or does it?? From what I understand of this is that I can carry more, but still have to remain inside the 2 mentioned limits. Kind of an oxymoron if you ask me. If GVWR and GCWRs are already maxed out, what the sense of adding more payload??

Another thing, if I throw an airride hitch onto the trailer, would that reduce some of the pin weight or does it just help distribute the rough ride and add more weight to the hitch plate?

I have never been more frustrated and ticked off and my wife is absolutely livid.

What really gets me is watching all the rigs like this running down the hiway on trucks less than what I have and now I cringe at the thought of travelling by road knowing what I think I know.

Regards

Pte Jack
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:52 PM
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Thanks SS4Luck and BlackSVT. I appreciate your replies, but this is the type of answers I get from other drivers, sales reps and friends and the guy I want to buy a unit from.

The "you should" type answers are what lead to accidents. Yes, 2500s are pulling these kind of units and from what I'm told by RV dealerships is that the manufacturer's are delivering units like this using 3/4 ton SRW trucks.

Yes, I understand that "I SHOULD" (and probably could) be able to pull this unit without problems, but I wish to be able to pull a unit into places like British Columbia not having to worry about being pulled over and ordered to unhitch because I'm overloaded.

Regards

Pte Jack
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:05 PM
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One other thing Brad, is you mentioned the limitation of the rear tires. This is how Alberta and a few other Provinces in Canada rate wether you get pulled over or not. If your tires look flat, look out.

One driver told me that the way he gets around weight restrictions is to run oversized tires on his truck.

Currently I'm running the standard tires that came with the truck, LT265/70R17E at 75PSI on the rear and 60PSI on the front. According to the door rating Max cargo and passengers should not exceed 1240Kgs (2735lbs).

Would running oversized tires help or just make things... uh... more complicated?

Thanks

Pte Jack
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:16 AM
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Here is where things get a bit dicey.

The max payload is a function of axle rating, suspension rating and tire rating. The axle is a non-issue as it is the same in both the SRW and DRW. That leaves suspension and tires. IMO, suspension is likely not an issue, but if it is that can be corrected with suspension enhancement of some sort, so not a real big or expensive issue. Tire.....you may be able to find a tire that has a higher load rating to carry those few extra lbs, but in all honesty, I don't think that would really be needed. I'm sure your tires are already load range E, and rated to handle 80psi cold; check the side walls to verify.

The big question - Can you upgrade the suspension and tires to carry the load safely? IMO - YES. HOWEVER.....right from the factory your truck has a rating from the manufacturer, and it doesn't matter what you do, that manufacturers rating will NOT change, so if you end up exceeding that rating (safe or otherwise) the law will only see those numbers compared to what they measured.

In the real world there is little chance that any inspector is going to even give you a second look if everything 'looks' proper. That includes the '3500' sticker on the side, the 5th wheel setup AND tires that 'look' round even on the bottom. LOL so chances are that you will be able to enjoy your travels without enforcement issues.

BUT......If the unforeseen happens (ie. Accident) and they starting checking in-depth and discover that you were running in excess of the manufactures rating, then you could be in a world of hurt with regard to law suits, insurance issues, etc.

BTW - Do you actually have the trailer already? I ask this because I believe the listed pin weight may be listed as the maximum if the trailer was fully loaded. I just seems a bit high from my experience, but then again my experience with newer travel trailers is quite limited.

You are looking to reduce the pin weight by about 350lbs to be within specs, so getting the actual pin weight may prove to be rewarding. Also there is the possibility of adding extra weight behind the trailer axle(s) to reduce the running pin weight. As that is likely where your water tank(s) are located, adding 1000lbs of water may be the ticket to get all the specs in order.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:22 AM
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A quick added note - The trailer shown in my signature weights 7000lbs when loaded, and I pull it behind a 1500 with all numbers well inside the list weight ratings. It blows my mine that your particular scenario is even possible with a 3500! If you had not posted your weights and calculations I would never have ever guessed it would be an issue, and without doing a single calculation I would have suggested a 3500 was over-kill for that!

As is the case just about every day, I have learned something new by being here on the Z. I 'will' be so much more careful in my future recommendations. This problem although almost inconceivable, is real and goes to show the importance of checking everything and taking nothing for granted.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:21 AM
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I think Brad12kx has the solution. Get the dealer to actually measure the pin weight with and without water and see as when I was looking with my sister at trailers the manufacturers hitch weights for the tag alongs were way off and we did ask about it and the dealer salesman said most are now indicating the fully loaded weight to ensure people don't overbuy their trailers based onunloaded weight only to get in trouble when they load it up.

It's worth a try.
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