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RE: New to RVing and In Need Of Advice! :)

I agree with the others that you need to think bigger truck for any rv you think you might live full time in. Most modern SUVs are in reality unibody station wagons not suitable for towing anything significant. I disagree that you can't get a decent truck for $20k. We are currently in Alaska in a $10k f250 we picked up 5yr ago in Michigan. We have 20k miles towing plus another 30k not towing. Nothing beyond normal maintenance items.
valhalla360 05/29/23 09:29pm Beginning RVing
RE: Will Air bags make a big difference?

Ok for those still following this thread and offering advice - I went back to the Cat scale, hope I've got this right. 1st ticket -Steer Axle only 5,780 The truck on only one pad. 2nd ticket Steer Axle 3,260 Drive Axle 3,460 Trailer Axle 5,940 Combination 12,660 So I added the two truck axle weights, then subtracted the truck weight, and I get a difference of 940, divide by the truck actual weight of 5780, and I get 16.26% Am I doing that right? Also, I overinflated the truck tires to 55 psi, and it seemed to help with small bumps, but large bumps still cause what I call bucking, where the front and back of the truck jump up and down, and I still feel like the truck is too light in front and it seems difficult to keep the truck going straight down the road. Next thing I guess I'll probably try is adding leaf spring helpers as Grit dog suggested. Any particular type recommended? Not exactly sure what I'm looking for. Finally I borrowed a 3/4 ton Chevy Duramax and towed the camper with that. Still, some very minor bucking, but it was like night and day, and, perhaps even more importantly, I could steer with one hand, it was that stable in the front. Technically wrong but decipherable. 1st Ticket should have had the truck axles on separate pads but close enough we can figure things out: - Truck goes from 5,780 to 6,720 (3260+3460), so the hitch weight is 940lb as you calculated. - Trailer weight is 5,940 + 940 = 7,880lb. (within the trailers 9,462GVWR) - Hitch percentage is 940lb/7,880lb = 12% (OK range) I'm betting the 35psi is causing a lot of the issue. What was the weight rating off the side of the truck tires? At 45psi, it might be OK.
valhalla360 05/26/23 06:25pm Towing
RE: Will Air bags make a big difference?

What is the weight rating on the side of the tire? If 35psi is the max pressure, the tires may have a lower rating than the rear axle. Soft squishy car tires may be fine running around empty but overload them and the ride can get squirrely and you risk a blowout.
valhalla360 05/26/23 09:56am Towing
RE: MGVWR and problems titling trailer

Start to add up the options and you might have 800-1000lb of payload used before putting anything else in it. 1200lb payload on a 34ft trailer would be a deal breaker for us. Two aircon, batteries. Propane, awning, stabilizers, water, etc... adds up pretty quick. As suggested strip all your personal gear out and get it weighed. If it's still over go back to the dealer and demand your money back as it's not legally usable. If you have 3-400lb of payload left, I would still argue with them but it's a gray area. If you have 800-1000lb left, you are kind of stuck.
valhalla360 05/26/23 09:43am Travel Trailers
RE: Thoughts on a plug-in hybrid conversion

I should mention that there is also a hitch-mounted option which can be quickly removed before hooking up a trailer if payload is a limiting factor. Regarding engine braking...we will, in the future, offer a blended operation mode where you can use both the engine and the motor, in which case you would get regenerative braking. As I mentioned before, this gets tricky with regulations in some states, so we won't tackle that until we're established in the marketplace. PHEVs in general are a great solution for a lot of people, based on how most people actually drive. But definitely not for everyone. For a big chunk of people, the payback period for a system like this would be less than a financing term, so you can go into it only saving money. And this is without any gov't incentives (which we're working on) or leveraging carbon credits (in states that have cap-and-trade systems, they can cut the price almost in half). Thanks so much folks...this is all fantastic info. A hitch mounted system wouldn't be helpful as that's the worst place to add weight for payload and presumably it would block the tailgate. Then there is the issue that in a rear-end crash (the most common type), the system would be the first thing to get damaged. I'm still not getting the regulation issue. Once you mess with the drivetrain, you've messed with the drivetrain and you will have to meet the emissions regulations...of course, adding an electric motive force obviously wouldn't make the emissions worse...teamed with the ICE or not. I do agree Plug-in-Hybrids would be a great option for many pickup owners. Few people commute more than 30-40miles per day but even if you commute 80miles per day, a 40mile battery range would convert 50% of your miles to electric. But ganging the ICE and EV together is where I see it as a game changer for folks who actually want to use their pickups capability. Also, care to share the math behind a 3yr time of return. Assuming a typical 12k mile annual usage and modern 1/2 tons able to get in the low to mid-20mpg, I'm coming up with around $1500 fuel savings per year but that needs to be discounted by the electric consumption you have to pay for. I'm coming up with 6-8yrs payback. Maybe look at it for the small pickup market (ie: rangers, etc...) Far fewer of those are used for towing or otherwise maxed out use, so the loss in payload would be less of a concern.
valhalla360 05/25/23 05:56pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Ideas on selling Thousand Trails membership

Yup, just like with timeshares these kinds of ‘memberships’ are not worth squat on the resale market. What are the implications if you just walk away? A lot of timeshares hold you hostage if you can't find someone to take it off your hands.
valhalla360 05/24/23 07:56pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Thoughts on a plug-in hybrid conversion

I suggest doing more research on how payloads work out when towing. No half ton will have 1700 left when towing an 8000lb trailer. There are half tons with upwards of 2000lb payload but they are very rare. Even those can struggle with the 1200lb hitch weight, say 600lb for a small family and misc stuff in the truck bed maxing the truck out. You haven't dealt with warranties have you. If they say you voided the warranty, you are going to have to prove they are wrong and likely take them to court. Folks priced out of the new market are unlikely to buy a $10-20k truck and add a $10k system. Without additional towing capabilities, I don't see rvers as your target market. Sounds like non towing owners would be a better target but as said, it is likely a short term market as the new trucks filter into the used market. PS: I think a plug in hybrid pickup is a great idea. The problem I see is an aftermarket system comes with too many compromises.
valhalla360 05/24/23 07:52pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Thoughts on a plug-in hybrid conversion

What's the total weight of the system? A lot of 1/2 ton trucks only have 1000-1500lb of payload. Most trucks run out of payload before they run out of tow rating. Would they system be able to feed ICE and EV power simultaneously? A towing mode where the electric motor kicks in on uphill grades and regenerates on downgrades would be nice. That would improve MPG, keep the ICE from potentially overheating and act as an engine brake. Combined with even the smallest engine option, it should be quite capable. Of course, I think cost is likely the deal breaker. Most won't want to risk the warranty on a new truck and dumping $7-10k into a 5-10yr old truck is harder to justify. If buying new, better to just buy an OEM drivetrain and not have to worry about it. Obviously, easier to implement via a toolbox in the bed but I would want it underneath, so the bed is still available. With the manufacturers pursing various powertrain options, at best I see it as a short term business plan.
valhalla360 05/24/23 05:31pm Tow Vehicles
RE: towing with a Tesla

In the same way 26 gallon fuel tanks are a deal breaker when towing. Stopping every 2 hours to charge would also be a deal breaker. Sure I could deal with it for a one time trip, but being limited to 2 hour travel intervals would not be practical for me. 26 gal tank would be good for 4-5 hr of driving for us pulling a 7500lb trailer. Also wonder how the drivetrain and suspension would hold up with a heavier trailer. It's not uncommon for folks to try and max out a crossover SUV (aka: Unibody station wagon). They have plenty of HP but the rest of the drivetrain and suspension are overloaded.
valhalla360 05/24/23 05:13pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Connecting 2 batteries together

There are a lot of myths about paralleling batteries. For the most part the only thing you need to concern The Connecting cables need to be large enough (Same as the cable that runs off to who knows where) And the polarity. Most everythign else the batteries will work out by themselves In some very high current installs there is more (Load Balance) But you are into the hundreds of amp loads before that's a concern. With GC-2's there are additional concerns but since you are not going that route. That is all folks. ^^^ This If you were talking about a 1500amp-hr @12v bank feeding a 3000w inverter that will be used to run the air/con or some other heavy duty system, mucking about with load balancing becomes important. For a couple of basic 12v batteries tied together to feed minor house loads, it's largely irrelevant. Even running something like the main tongue jack might be unbalanced but as soon as the load stops, the batteries will balance themselves.
valhalla360 05/22/23 07:37pm Tech Issues
RE: New to Travel trailers

What's your tow vehicle and how big do you want to go with the trailer? Some thoughts: - Learn what all the ratings mean (towing, axle and payload) and be skeptical. Dealers will tell you it's fine but if it's a white knuckle drive, it won't be a fun...pretty soon you will hate it. - To fit 4 adults comfortably you are looking at a minimum 25ft and can easily get up around 30ft or larger. I don't care what the specs say, you will be happier with a 3/4 ton truck for a rig that big. They cost about the same as a 1/2 ton. If you really like back country camping, big is harder to safely get into backwoods sites. - Most of the time, it's not tow rating that limits what you can tow but payload. Everything you put in the truck including passengers and bolt on gear (like running boards) counts against payload. Also the hitch weight (should be 12-15% of the fully loaded, NOT EMPTY, trailer weight counts against payload (use 15% of GVWR if unsure as a good starting point). A lot of 1/2 ton trucks have pitiful payload (1000lb payload is not uncommon and 4 adults can easily add up to 800lb). Ignore the payloads you find on the web. There is a yellow sticker on the driver door jamb that lists the actual payload or better yet, swing by a CAT scale and weigh the truck to find out how much payload you have left. - If you are willing to make some compromises there are smaller options that could work. There are some 20ft bunkhouse models that could work while the kids are small and would be very suitable for a 1/2ton pickup. Then as they get older, you could put a cap on the truck and they could sleep in the back of the truck when they outgrow the bunks. Smaller lets you get into more out of the way sites. - They all come with a furnace and presumably the dog would be happy sleeping on the floor. Take your time, learn and if in doubt go for the more capable truck.
valhalla360 05/21/23 09:45am Travel Trailers
RE: May have towed too much weight

It's not just weight, don't overlook wind resistance. If you have a 10 MPH headwind, the load on the TV is increased substantially. when I was comparing a pilot vs my highlander, the pilot was rated to tow 5,000 lbs. towing a boat, 3500 towing a trailer. bumpy This brings up an important difference. Boats slip thru the air easier than a brick (which is the aerodynamics of your average RV). They don't highlight it but manufacturers have a maximum frontal area for towing. Assuming you were towing on mostly flat ground, being overweight may not have been the big issue. Fighting the wind could have overloaded it. Also, what does "tow weight goes to 5000 with atf coolant" mean? Do you mean if you add a transmission cooler and are you sure that's the only change required to increase the tow rating? Reality is these unibody station wagons are marginal tow vehicles. If you want to tow a 2000lb utility trailer 20 miles from the local home depot, it can work but maxed out it not a great idea.
valhalla360 05/21/23 09:18am Towing
RE: Will Air bags make a big difference?

Cat Scale Combination 12520 lbs Camper 5980 lbs truck 6540 lbs Any further help is appreciated. CAT should have gave you weights per axle. What were those with and without the trailer hooked up. Also, something isn't making sense with the camper weight. If the empty weight is 5777, that would imply you only have about 200lb in the trailer. Batteries and propane would add that much. Did you take the trailer & truck loaded as if you were going camping? No sense getting weight data that doesn't match what you will actually be towing. The guy gave me two slips, and they ARE confusing. The first one says: Steer Axle 00 Drive Axle 6540 Trailer Axle 5980 Gross Weight 12520 The 2nd sheet says: Steer Axle 00 Drive Axle 840 Trailer Axle 5860 Gross Weight 6700 This WAS confusing to me. I asked the guy to explain, and he said the Drive axle was the truck, and the trailer axle was the trailer weight. I didin't realize the numbers on the 2nd sheet were different until I got home. The more I think about it I think the truck and trailer numbers might be reversed, and that would make more sense. The curb weight of the truck is supposed to be 5209, and the dry weight of the trailer should be 5777. I do have stuff in both the truck, and the camper, but all the tanks were empty, and we had removed a lot of our stuff right after we got back from camping. I'm guessing there's about 300 to 400 lbs of odds and ends in the basement and the pantry and bedroom. That's even more confusing. I assume the 2nd sheet is the truck weighed without the trailer hooked up but the first ticket shows the truck weighing less (6540 vs 6700). When you weigh the truck there should be at least 3 pads. You want to get the steering axle on the front one, the drive axle on the 2nd one with the trailer on the 3rd pad. This will give you each of the truck axles and the trailer axle (combined). Then reweigh with just the truck so you get two additional axle weights. Stripping stuff out of the rig before weighing will confuse the issue. The water tank can easily be 300-400lb, add in a few hundred in other gear...that can easily shift the hitch weight by 3-5% or push the truck over it's payload limits. Watch a couple videos on "how to weigh rv at CAT scale" on youtube they will give you a better idea of how to do it and what the results should look like.
valhalla360 05/21/23 09:08am Towing
RE: Will Air bags make a big difference?

Cat Scale Combination 12520 lbs Camper 5980 lbs truck 6540 lbs Any further help is appreciated. CAT should have gave you weights per axle. What were those with and without the trailer hooked up. Also, something isn't making sense with the camper weight. If the empty weight is 5777, that would imply you only have about 200lb in the trailer. Batteries and propane would add that much. Did you take the trailer & truck loaded as if you were going camping? No sense getting weight data that doesn't match what you will actually be towing.
valhalla360 05/20/23 07:35pm Towing
RE: Distance between the two RV?

Legal minimum vs what you should accept. A lot of places don't seem to have any legal minimum spacing. Having seen a couple of RV fires, I would want a minimum 10ft between units (with slides open) and 15-20ft would be much better. If the fire gets hot, expect lots of damage from melting plastic parts.
valhalla360 05/20/23 07:10am Beginning RVing
RE: Will Air bags make a big difference?

Empty weight is irrelevant and payload often runs out before tow rating. Swing by a CAT scale and find out what the real weights are (loaded as if you are going on a trip). Take 3 measurements (after the first, you can do re-weighs for like $3, so probably $20-25 total). - Fully hooked up with the WDH connected. - Hooked up but disconnect the WDH bars. - Just the truck. With this info, you can determine the actual weight of the trailer and the actual hitch weight. Then you can determine the hitch weight and if the truck is overloaded. On the door of the truck are stickers that provide overall and per axle payload ratings. It might be that the trucks rear suspension is overloaded or it could be the opposite and the hitch weight is too low. If it's too low, airbags won't help. I may get to a cat scale, but in the meantime could you elaborate? What is meant by "hitch weight is too low"? Thanks! Hitch weight should be minimum 10%. Ideally between 12-15% (more is actually better but unlikely your truck could handle it). Assuming you are at 8000lb loaded (guess based on empty weight plus a couple thousand in cargo, which is very realistic when you figure water, propane, batteries, etc...). You should be looking at around 1000-1200lb hitch weight. Add in say 4 people plus firewood, cooler etc... in the truck. All that counts against payload. You could easily have 2000lb on the truck and most half tons have around 1500lb payload (it can vary drastically). That would leave you over payload and with the squishy suspension on lighter duty 1/2 ton trucks, it can feel squirrely when driving. Airbags can help with the ride if you are overloaded but you are still overloaded, so it's masking the issue. Alternatively, if you are light on hitch weight say 8%, even if the truck is fine, the trailer can get squirrely. Airbags won't help with this issue. As previously mentioned, factory empty weights are irrelevant. They don't include any gear you put in the trailer, water, propane, batteries, any aftermarket bolt on items, etc..., so reality is you will never tow at empty weights.
valhalla360 05/19/23 06:27pm Towing
RE: Will Air bags make a big difference?

Empty weight is irrelevant and payload often runs out before tow rating. Swing by a CAT scale and find out what the real weights are (loaded as if you are going on a trip). Take 3 measurements (after the first, you can do re-weighs for like $3, so probably $20-25 total). - Fully hooked up with the WDH connected. - Hooked up but disconnect the WDH bars. - Just the truck. With this info, you can determine the actual weight of the trailer and the actual hitch weight. Then you can determine the hitch weight and if the truck is overloaded. On the door of the truck are stickers that provide overall and per axle payload ratings. It might be that the trucks rear suspension is overloaded or it could be the opposite and the hitch weight is too low. If it's too low, airbags won't help.
valhalla360 05/19/23 08:06am Towing
RE: Hwys closed and wild fires in BC & Alberta

Easy to find official provincial sites for daily updates on the fires. We are N central NE at the moment and it is quite smokey. That can change with a shift in the wind. Smoke or not we continue north entering Canada, pass through Saskatoon and on to Edmonton. Wild fires are every year. We just went from Grande Prairie to Dawson Creek to Prince George and are currently at the south end of the Cassiar Hwy. (got turned away at Dawson Creek before heading up to Ft St John) While it was worse at the east end, it's been smoky the whole way.
valhalla360 05/19/23 07:58am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Dual tank fill-up to top

Why would they put a fuel fill on the front tank if you weren't supposed to use it? As others have said, sounds wrong.
valhalla360 05/18/23 07:03pm Tow Vehicles
RE: How to Restore Old Fiberglass

Once Fiberglass deteriorates, The ONLY sure fix is to paint. You can use types of restorers and polishes, but the results fade away within weeks. For some reason, LOTS of people think fiberglass does NOT need regular polishing. I have a friend with a 30 year old Mastercraft red ski boat. Looks brand new. BUT, he is very OCD and washes and Polishes the boat every time he comes home from the lake or river. LOTS of work but the results speak for themselves. Doug Yep, once you let fiberglass get chaulky, the only long term fix is painting. We did it on a prior boat and it was a great option. Should be even easier on an RV. If it's just faded and no underlying damage, you might find a buddy who knows how to spray and it won't be a very hard job. We used a 1 part (interlux brightside) and it was still shiny 3 yrs later when we sold the boat...never buffed or waxed it in that time.
valhalla360 05/18/23 06:32pm Class A Motorhomes
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