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Upgrading Travel Trailer

Discussion in 'Towing' started by afob3, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Jun 17, 2011 at 8:10 AM
    #1
    afob3

    afob3 [OP] Member

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    First post here so be kind.....

    I've taken some time to browse the what do you tow threads and an happy to see I'm not the only one towing a travel trailer with the Tacoma although it always looks like it at the campground. We've been towing a 17 foot hybrid TT for 2 years now with no issues or concerns. We towed it with a minivan maxed out prior to the Tacoma.

    We started looking at trailers with a queen and 2 bunks recently and stumbled on this floorplan that DW REALLY likes. It is the Skyline Koala 25DS. It is 4000 as it sits on the lot and 5900 lbs GVW. The weights appear to be OK but the length (28 ft) concerns me a bit. I'm thinking that upgrading from my friction bar sway control will be in order. I was really suprised at the weights vs. comparable models and realized the biggest difference is it is 7.5 wide instead of 8 foot.

    Best online link of pics and floor plan I could find.

    Tell me what I'm forgetting about.... I'm going to take a look at it closer without the distraction of the kids soon.

    Here is our current setup...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jun 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM
    #2
    Goober

    Goober Earthlings are fun to watch!

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    Utah - Why just have only one?
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    The dry hitch weight is almost at max at 600 lbs. My trailer has a label inside the cabinet under the sink which gives weight information after accessories, like awning, ac etc. See if it has one of those. My weight dist hitch weighs 100 lbs. but that may offset itself by the nature of it's function.
    http://www.koalarv.com/brochure/koala.pdf
     
  3. Jun 17, 2011 at 9:56 AM
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    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    If you plan on traveling a lot with that thing, I'd think about a bigger truck. If you're set on towing it with your Tacoma, a good weight distributing hitch and brake controller would be money well spent. There's nothing wrong with friction sway control bars IMO. That's a lot of trailer for the Tacoma, it'd be more at home behind something larger but that's just my $0.02.
     
  4. Jun 17, 2011 at 9:59 AM
    #4
    A_Ninja_Racer

    A_Ninja_Racer Well-Known Member

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    You also really need to take into account the Weight of your luggage. Wants you get that trailer loaded you could easily blow through the 6k weight limit. If you really want to go this rout then i would Highly suggest getting a Good High quality Gyroscopic Break Controllers and Air bags for the rear suspension.
     
  5. Jun 17, 2011 at 10:05 AM
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    Ghoster

    Ghoster Well-Known Member

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    I know nothing about towing with a Tacoma. I just wanted to say that I like the layout of that trailer! Its almost perfect for what my wife and I have been looking for.
     
  6. Jun 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM
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    afob3

    afob3 [OP] Member

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    Alas I stopped at the dealer this afternoon and it was already sold. :(

    I'm still a bit torn though and looking for anybody that tows 'long' with thier Tacoma. I already have a weight distributing hitch and good brake controller for the current trailer. I did look at upgrading / adding the dual cam setup as well.
     
  7. Jun 18, 2011 at 1:49 PM
    #7
    jayglad

    jayglad Member

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    We recently purchased a Kodiak 22KS. I test pulled a 29ft long Travel Trailer with our Taco and I didn't like it. It was windy that day and my butt was puckered into the seat the whole time. I just had a regular WD hitch and an electronic Brake Controller. I didn't have any anti sway rigged up. I'd get a bigger truck, Just my opinion...
     
  8. Jun 19, 2011 at 9:08 PM
    #8
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Leather Seats! Pulling a Forest River Salem 22RBXL Travel Trailer!
    I just did this just this weekend. Pulled 200 miles in 10 MPH crosswinds @ 65 MPH. I have a 23' TT. Normally I'd have been a nervous wreck after that pull, but I just upgraded to the Dual Cams.

    I'm 100% not joking, they work incredibly well and made my 200 mile pull in the crosswind (and some headwinds) a joke.

    The friction sway bar both resists sway and due to the very nature resists the trailer coming back in line. Can't use in rain and when backing up in sharp jackknives. I had one, and it did a pretty decent job, definitely helped a good bit versus no swaybar, but compared to the experience with the Dual Cams, it's not even in the same playing field.

    I'd considered a 27' long Salem X-Lite by Forest River, and wondered myself if it was too long for my Tacoma. After using the Dual Cams, I'm willing to bet it's not.

    Additionally, hitch weight is shared over all axles with a WD hitch, so a 600 lbs tongue might not be too much with the bars on, but some careful setup is needed to make sure you're not going over your limits.

    Also, the 7.5 wide trailers (which I have too) I think are much better suited for the Tacos and 1/2 tons. I can damn near pull it without needing tow mirrors. I've pulled a 28' Jayco (8' wide, 5500 lbs), and did NOT enjoy that experience, but that was with a WD hitch and no swaybar at all for a very short distance. I was scared to go over 50MPH.
     
  9. Jun 20, 2011 at 6:03 PM
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    AJVC17

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    I have a Wildwood Xlite 26BHXL. I have towed it cross country from WA to NC and back twice now. Its 27 feet long on the outside and 8 feet wide. It ways 3900 pounds empty. On average the full time RVer carries about 1000 pounds of stuff so even with that you are only at 4900 pounds. My stock Tacoma sport did great with it. I did have an equalizer hitch and a brake controller.

    My trailer has the queen bed on one end and then bunk beds on the other. Might be what you are looking for.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2011 at 7:08 PM
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    afob3

    afob3 [OP] Member

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    ^^^Good to know. That model is one that we considered as well. On paper the weights and length are very close to what I'm looking at. Do you happen to have any pics of your Taco hitched up to it?

    Edit... I found one of your pics. The search feature here is pretty good :)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jun 20, 2011 at 8:08 PM
    #11
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Leather Seats! Pulling a Forest River Salem 22RBXL Travel Trailer!
    By the way, this is the trailer I was referring to in my post. Salem / Wildwood and a few other variants are the same trailer all made by Forest River and are 7.5 wide (I think) and around 4k dry.

    Nice rig AJVC17, and I'm glad to see you doing that with that trailer, as it would be the one I'd upgrade to if I needed more beds / space.
     
  12. Jun 21, 2011 at 1:00 AM
    #12
    AJVC17

    AJVC17 Member

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    Here is the best picture I have right now. I am currently in Afghanistan or I would get you a better one. I put in an prodigy brake controller which was a snap and have an Equalizer brand tow hitch rig. Later on I added an Airlift airbag system to put more stuff in the bed while towing. 100% not necessary just felt like adding something I could do myself to make the ride slightly more comfortable.

    So Far I have towed it from Ohio to Pensacola, FL. Pensacola, FL to Whidbey Island, WA. Then Whidbey Island back to Pensacola. Last trip we did in five days for some insane reason. On the flats I never knew it was there, In the mountains I knew it was there but never had any trouble. At least three ice-storms and multiple torrential down pours. My taco did awesome. It ate up gas but never any problems with performance. I suggest carrying at least 6 extra gallons of gas maybe 12 if you just feel like being extra safe.

    The trailer itself is great the new model actually has a solid wall that seperates the queen bed from the rest. I saw one guy tear out the bunk beds and put an office in. Keep in mind for weight pretty much any slide out on an RV will add about 1000 pounds. This one doesnt have one specifically because I didnt want the extra weight. For the weekend family adventurer its awesome. The longest I lived in it was for about 45 days when I had PCS orders out west. Two kids, two dogs, and a cat made it seem a little crowded after a while but we got through. It also makes a very nice guest house by North Carolina standards.

    7327_611823219404_20305577_35888021_8242104_n.jpg
     
  13. Jun 21, 2011 at 1:10 AM
    #13
    AJVC17

    AJVC17 Member

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    afob3

    I like the picture you found of my rig better than the one I found of my rig.
     
  14. Jun 21, 2011 at 5:58 PM
    #14
    afob3

    afob3 [OP] Member

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    THANK YOU for your service. :oldglory:

    I got with the credit union this afternoon and it looks like we're gonna order the Koala before the week is out.
     
  15. Aug 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM
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    afob3

    afob3 [OP] Member

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    Well we did it! The new TT actualy tows better than the 17 foot Hybrid we were pulling before. Completely smooth & straight. I owe all that credit to the Reese Dual Cam hitch setup. We had no problem maintaining speed heading in and out of the Foothills here near the Great Smoky Mtns. National Park.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Aug 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM
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    sechsgang

    sechsgang Well-Known Member

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    Have you measured what you are towing there?
    I am pretty sure you are over most limits of your truck.
     
  17. Aug 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM
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    A_Ninja_Racer

    A_Ninja_Racer Well-Known Member

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    That is a Beautiful Trailer I bet it hurts the MPG though. Have Fun and stay safe.
     
  18. Aug 22, 2011 at 6:15 PM
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    afob3

    afob3 [OP] Member

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    Well within the limits. Even if I max out the trailer which is only rated at 5700 lbs, I'm under my max. It weighed 4160lbs as it came off the line. I plan to hit the truck scales with it next time I take a trip past one.

    Thats what really drew me to this line of TT. For a similar floorplan in any other brand it would be at least 1000 lbs more. The trick is it is both narrower and shorter than a standard size TT. The walls are also all composite azdel which saves 50 pct weight over traditional luan plywood.

    This pic kinda puts the size difference in perspective...
    [​IMG]

    It actually tows better than my single axle, 17 foot, hybrid travel trailer that I traded in. It was 3800 lbs.

    Check out www.koalarv.com for details and specs.
     
  19. Aug 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM
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    sechsgang

    sechsgang Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure about that? I am specifically talking about GVWR and tongue weight. Your trailer has a DRY tongue weight of 600 lbs. That does not include any options (A/C, awning), not even the battery on the tongue, and no cargo. Plus you need to add the weight of the WDH (80-100 lbs). Where is your water heater? If forward of the axles (common), that will add to the tongue, even if you travel with empty tanks. The 6 gallons in the water heater weigh about 50 lbs and can't easily be drained. You may be surprised when you measure that tongue weight!
    As for the GVWR: I see kids toys in one of the pics. How many people are in the truck? My first guess is that you have around 400-500lbs of payload left after you account for the tongue weight. Could be less. That's for all people in the truck, and anything else.


    Good idea, please report back with all the details!
    You are over the tongue weight rating by 50 lbs with the DRY hitch weight and the WDH alone. How do you figure to be "well within the limits"? Is that based on trailer weight only? That would be a mistake, but a very common one.
    Check your hitch welds on a regular basis, and watch for wind gusts, your Tacoma has a dangerously short wheel base for that TT length. I would get a bigger truck for that trailer.
     
  20. Aug 23, 2011 at 7:20 AM
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    sechsgang

    sechsgang Well-Known Member

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    I am sure our 650lbs max tongue weight already assumes a WDH.

    Also, don't forget that with that long of a distance from the hitch ball to the TT axles (compared to hitch ball to truck rear axle), not much weight is transferred back to the trailer axles. The majority of the WD will be to the front axle.
    Example (guessing dimensions from the picture here):
    ball overhang distance = 2x wheel base
    TT axle midpoint distance = 5X the ball overhang distance.
    When correct WD is applied (front axle weight unchanged from no trailer connected load), then here is what happens in that case:
    the load added to the truck's front axle will be 3X the load added to the TT's axles, and
    the load removed from the TV's rear axle will be 5X the load added to the TT's axles.
    For a tongue weight of 800lbs, 400lbs will need to be added back to the front axles for good WD. That dictates that 400/3 = 133lbs will be added to the trailer axles. 133 * 5 = 667lbs will be added to the rear axle of the truck.
    Now from the picture it could be that the ball to TT axles distance is more than 5x the ball to rear axle distance. That would transfer less to the trailer axles. With a shorter trailer, more gets transferred to the TT axles. That's physics, nothing you can do about it other than increasing the wheel base of the tow vehicle (TV), but you can't stretch your Tacoma. That's one reason why a longer wheel base is preferred for towing.

    * with "ball overhang distance" I mean the horizontal distance between the center of the truck's rear axle and the hitch ball.

    It is interesting to mention that the above trailer / truck combination without WD would result in 1,200lbs added to the TV's rear axle, and 400lbs (the same amount that the WD puts back) removed from the front axle. Not doable at all.
     
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