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Advice on travel trailer weight

Discussion in 'Towing' started by jamesausman, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. Feb 28, 2021 at 9:18 AM
    #1
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    I’ve added up the weight of all the gear I’ll be keeping in the new TT while towing. Empty TT is 3780lbs. All the stuff in there including the battery and propane will total around 4300lbs. I’ll have another 300lbs or so in the bed. My wife, kid and myself about 400 lbs. Using a WD hitch. Will not fill water tank.

    Truck is 2015 4.0L (6ft bed) Prerunner/TRD Sport, Hayden 679 cooler, Tekonsha P2, Sumosprings.

    I have read a lot of opinions on what is safe and what isn’t. I am trying to stay within the range of what is reasonable with this truck, even if at the upper end of what’s reasonable. I love my
    Truck and only tow the rig maybe 10-12 times a year so don’t really want to move up to a Tundra or similar.

    Any input, tips or advice would be much appreciated. Should I try and load up the bed a bit more and lighten the trailer?
     
  2. Feb 28, 2021 at 9:24 AM
    #2
    crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

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    You'll likely be over the truck's payload capacity with the way you want to load it now. Family (400lbs), bed (300lbs), hitch (50-100lbs) and tongue weight (call it 450lbs) adds up to ~1200lbs sitting on the truck. Your payload is probably around 1100lbs but check the door jamb sticker. It won't break the truck but if you can move the weight from the bed into the trailer and load it properly you'll take a couple hundred pounds off the truck. The height and width of the trailer will effect the truck and driving comfort more than the weight.
     
    TacoManOne and jamesausman [OP] like this.
  3. Feb 28, 2021 at 9:32 AM
    #3
    spitdog

    spitdog Well-Known Member

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    I like the max tow load divided by 2 for the mts. More for the flats.
     
  4. Feb 28, 2021 at 12:21 PM
    #4
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    So the tongue weight is part of the trailer dry weight but is also part of the total payload. I hadn’t factored that in but it makes sense. the weight distribution hitch weight also needs to be calculated into total payload the . So I’ll be carrying less in the truck surely.
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  5. Feb 28, 2021 at 12:30 PM
    #5
    LoveableWerewolf

    LoveableWerewolf Well-Known Member

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    Gvwr-curbweight=payload

    Payload-toungue= total weight you can carry in the truck
     
  6. Feb 28, 2021 at 12:36 PM
    #6
    crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, tongue weight is just the weight of the trailer is resting on the truck hitch. Think of it as if you were putting 450lbs in a hitch mounted basket back there and it makes sense why it counts against the truck payload. The WDH does not reduce the amount of tongue weight but helps transfer some of the force of that weight off the rear axle and onto the front axle to balance the truck better and improve handling. The WDH also counts against your payload and they aren't light.
     
  7. Feb 28, 2021 at 1:38 PM
    #7
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    So to relocate a few times from the bed to the TT, I’d imagine if placed close to the front they would add to the tongue weight to some degree. And I’ve read placing items towards the back can increase sway. So kind of in the middle? Im assuming then the weight of the battery and propane tank need to be accounted for in the tongue weight. I’m glad I asked. I was very concerned with the weight of the trailer and not nearly enough with the payload.

    thanks again
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  8. Feb 28, 2021 at 7:27 PM
    #8
    Knute

    Knute Well-Known Member

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    Think about balancing the trailer cargo so the proper tongue weight is on the truck.

    Yes. The WDH and Trailer Tongue Weight are carried by the truck. These are part of the truck's cargo load.

    You need the trailer to be heavy on the tongue, without exceeding limits, to help control trailer sway.
     
  9. Mar 1, 2021 at 6:38 AM
    #9
    Marshall R

    Marshall R Well-Known Member

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    You're probably a little over, but with careful packing and possibly leaving some stuff at home you might make it work. The tongue weight of a 4300 lb trailer should be about 560 lbs. Figure 13% of trailer weight. You could load the trailer so you have less tongue weight, but for best towing 10% is considered minimum and 15% maximum. Add 50-100 lbs for a WDH. Then 300 for cargo and 400 for passengers and you have 1300-1350 lbs on the trucks suspension.

    Check the payload rating on your truck. Somewhere between 1100-1300 is typical, but some will have under 1000, others can be 1500 or more. This is why it is hard to give good advice on the internet, every truck is different. Your truck might pull this load just fine, mine would not. Your Pre Runner will have more payload than my 4X4 since the truck is lighter. I also have a cap that weighs 180 lbs that counts against my payload.

    If you could move 150 of the 300 lbs of cargo into the trailer it would help. You'd increase trailer weight by 150 lbs, but take almost 130 lbs off the truck. That alone would get you down to closer to 1200. And you might just have to leave some stuff at home.
     
  10. Mar 1, 2021 at 7:46 AM
    #10
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    The payload of the truck is 1150. Tongue weight with empty trailer is 520lbs per manufacturer. Leaving the truck mostly empty aside from people should be fine. We can fill coolers close to camp.

    The TT from rear to hitch is 21.5’. 10.2’ tall. I believe 8’ wide. Maybe 4400lbs loaded if I move gear from bed to trailer. I have the brake controller set correctly. I can stay under 1150 payload. At that point is this reasonable for this truck? Believe it or not I did a ton of reading prior to purchasing the TT. I came to the conclusion that 2/3 or maybe 70% of towing capacity was reasonable but the more the read the less confident I am. I don’t care to get anywhere quickly, just safely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  11. Mar 1, 2021 at 7:53 AM
    #11
    Knute

    Knute Well-Known Member

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    What is the GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating)?

    Being at the max limits of the truck and trailer can easily put you well over the GCVWR?
     
  12. Mar 1, 2021 at 8:01 AM
    #12
    Muddinfun

    Muddinfun Well-Known Member

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    All very good advice here, but a lot of the safety of this depends on your experience level. If you’ve never towed a trailer or if you’ve only towed a Harbor Freight folding trailer, you have no business towing a 20’ travel trailer.
     
    armyofsquirrels and TnShooter like this.
  13. Mar 1, 2021 at 8:35 AM
    #13
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    I’ve towed cargo trailers for work, boats and yes a pop-trailer, all many times. This is our first travel trailer. I have towed it around town and on some local highways, empty, to practice. The first 5 camping trips planned have all been within 30 minutes. My priority is getting comfortable and traveling safely for all in the truck and on the road near me. If I must I will get a bigger truck. The trailer unfortunately cannot be returned.
     
  14. Mar 1, 2021 at 9:03 AM
    #14
    TnShooter

    TnShooter Well-Known Member

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    Good info here. But it seems to have taken off on the technical path.

    To keep it simple

    1. Use the trailer brakes

    2. Try to keep close to 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue. But don’t go over the tongue weight (if you do, you are over weight)

    3. Use your WD hitch

    4. Hook up the trailer and drive. It should pull it ok. You’ll find the truck will probably want to run closer to 3k rpm to maintain speed on even moderate hills. I normally always tow in 4th (auto trans) even at 65 to 70mph.

    (It probably won’t be enjoyable if your experience is like mine when pulling anything north of 4K)

    I feel the Tacoma is better suited for towing a single axle utility trailer or boat trailers weighing 3,500 or less. It will pull this all day long and has plenty of power to do it.
     
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  15. Mar 2, 2021 at 5:59 AM
    #15
    wmgeorge

    wmgeorge Well-Known Member

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    Open your Owners Manual, go to the section on towing and read that. Find the Spec's section look up the max towing weight in that, it varies between with Factory Tow package or not. No calculations, no mystery. Simple.
    Just towing a few miles then you can skip the WDH, longer tows it and a sway bar kit really help.
     
  16. Mar 3, 2021 at 7:08 AM
    #16
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. After adding up tongue weight (520 dry per manufacturer), WD hitch, and people I have about 150 lbs to spare. I’m contemplating a larger truck at this point as I don’t want to bust out the scale for each camp trip. Payload adds up quick! I wish I hadn’t been so focused on tow weight when shopping campers. Tongue weight seems to be to be the factor that will max out these trucks quicker.
     
  17. Mar 3, 2021 at 7:12 AM
    #17
    Knute

    Knute Well-Known Member

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    The "dry" tongue weight is a non-useful number.

    This needs to be determined when the trailer is loaded. It should not exceed the maximum truck tongue weight limit.

    Your spare 150 lb will disappear very quickly with the trailer loading. Just putting a propane tank and battery on the tongue will add nearly 100 lbs.
     
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  18. Mar 3, 2021 at 7:17 AM
    #18
    wmgeorge

    wmgeorge Well-Known Member

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    That must be fully loaded Max weight. Is that off the tag on the trailer or someone posting??
     
  19. Mar 3, 2021 at 7:18 AM
    #19
    jamesausman

    jamesausman [OP] Member

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    Yes, I have a tongue weight scale on the way. Once measured I’ll know exactly how much it weighs and based on that it’s mostly likely bigger truck time, unfortunately.

    So at the end of the day the dry 3700 lb TT is too big for my truck. Kind of a sad day but better safe than sorry.
     
  20. Mar 3, 2021 at 7:21 AM
    #20
    crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

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    It's not too big, you just need to pack lighter or distribute weight in the trailer. With the scale you'll be able to play around with weight distribution to find what work where when loaded and still be within limits. With the weights from your first post you're carrying nearly 1000lbs of crap camping with you which seems extremely excessive.
     

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