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I have been mostly lurking since April of this year trying to learn as much as I could as my wife and I worked toward the decision to buy a travel trailer. Really appreciate the knowledge so many are generously willing to share.

I started with buying a slightly used--4,600 miles--2018 4x4 ecoD crew cab limited with 6'4" bed, 3.92 gears, and factory air suspension at the beginning of May. Great truck. Was able to buy the GDE tune before they started checking VINs against the state registered (my daughter bought it and then sent it to me). I later installed the SFT tranny tune. Both seem to work great in making the truck more effective and more driveable.

After months of looking and renting trailers to tow and try out, we bought an Outdoors RV 24RKS. Overall length is 28.5' and the claimed dry weight at 6,740#. Since I planned to take it to a Cat scale as soon as possible, after bringing it home I loaded it with all the stuff that would stay in the trailer all the time. The only thing not in it were the clothes we'd take, food, the wife, tools, and maybe our electric bikes. The bikes weigh about 80# total and would be mounted at the rear of the trailer via the convenient factory installed receiver. Food would be 100? Wife claims to weigh 120... I also added 12 gallons of water (used a 6-gal water can twice) which is roughly how much we would normally travel with (for the wife's potty breaks). The fresh water holding tank is to the rear of the trailer axles. Fuel tank was nearly full.

I have a blue ox sway pro WDH and it is set at 9 links from the end of the chain not the bar. The max is 10 links which I tried that but man that was a rough ride. Their trouble-shooting guide says rough ride means too many links. Adjusting to 9 solved it.

Went to the cat scale this morning and weighed the truck and trailer. Hopefully I did it right. The results:
Front 3,300
Rear 3,760
Trailer 6,500
Total 13,560

Then I unhooked and weighed the truck only:
Front 3,440
Rear 2,820
Total 6,260

Taking the differences in the axle weights, the tongue is 800#? Adding that to the trailer axle weigh = 7,300, or deducting 6,260 from 13,560 = 7,300, so that seems to me to be the total trailer weight. Then 800/7,300 = 10.95% tongue weight? Am I okay on the front axle weight loaded? Please let me know if I'm doing this right. I do plan to weigh again when fully loaded for a trip now that I understand how the cat scale process works. This first one was just to get a lay of the land and to make sure the weights weren't way out of whack. Thanks!
 

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I have a blue ox sway pro WDH and it is set at 9 links from the end of the chain not the bar. The max is 10 links which I tried that but man that was a rough ride. Their trouble-shooting guide says rough ride means too many links. Adjusting to 9 solved it.

Went to the cat scale this morning and weighed the truck and trailer. Hopefully I did it right. The results:
Front 3,300
Rear 3,760
Trailer 6,500
Total 13,560

Then I unhooked and weighed the truck only:
Front 3,440
Rear 2,820
Total 6,260

Taking the differences in the axle weights, the tongue is 800#? Adding that to the trailer axle weigh = 7,300, or deducting 6,260 from 13,560 = 7,300, so that seems to me to be the total trailer weight. Then 800/7,300 = 10.95% tongue weight? Am I okay on the front axle weight loaded? Please let me know if I'm doing this right. I do plan to weigh again when fully loaded for a trip now that I understand how the cat scale process works. This first one was just to get a lay of the land and to make sure the weights weren't way out of whack.
Maybe try shifting where the weight is loaded around and try to get just a little bit more on the front but I wouldn't worry about it. If the truck and trailer feels solid and stable at that set up then run with it. Depending on where you put the extra weight you need to load, you may have to adjust the set up.
 

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IMO your not nearly calculating for enough additional weight. Your dry trailers weight was 6,740, scaled at 7,300.
That's only 560 lbs additional weight.

My trailer is rated @ 6300 lbs dry, Fully loaded it is closer to 7,700 - ( empty water tanks) It's AMAZING how much extra weight all of the "little things" add up to.

Propane, batteries, beer, dishes, silverware, clothing, beer, blocks, tools, awnings, and beer can really add up.

Altho I do think the truck will handle it ok. (y)(y)
 

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What is your truck's payload capacity? That is the number that would get my attention. The 4x4's, with upgraded options packages are generally rated for around 1100#-1200#. If that is the case, and the tongue weight is near 12%, which is ~800#, well I think you will see the issue. Having towed trailers in general for 25+years, and a 6000# RV for the last 5 years, I can tell you that an overloaded truck towing a trailer is not fun to drive. Meaning no disrespect, really, it never ceases to amaze me that people will only ask after they buy the trailer if the truck is capable of towing it safely. I spent a couple of months prior to purchasing the RV researching how much I could safely tow as regarded my payload capacity. My guess is that once you and the wife are in the truck with the trailer hitched up you will be overloaded. And it will get worse if you fill any of the tanks before driving.
CanyonMan
 

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I think you should try to restore the front axle weight closer to the truck empty number of 3440. The truck will seem to wander a lot if you don't get this weight close. I know there is a special procedure to hook up WD bars with air suspension, but don't have a clue what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
IMO your not nearly calculating for enough additional weight. Your dry trailers weight was 6,740, scaled at 7,300.
That's only 560 lbs additional weight.

My trailer is rated @ 6300 lbs dry, Fully loaded it is closer to 7,700 - ( empty water tanks) It's AMAZING how much extra weight all of the "little things" add up to.

Propane, batteries, beer, dishes, silverware, clothing, beer, blocks, tools, awnings, and beer can really add up.

Altho I do think the truck will handle it ok. (y)(y)
Yeah I agree; there will be more and then some. And that beer is heavy. I will say that my weights included two full 30# propane tanks and batteries. I’ll follow up with an actual trip load.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What is your truck's payload capacity? That is the number that would get my attention. The 4x4's, with upgraded options packages are generally rated for around 1100#-1200#. If that is the case, and the tongue weight is near 12%, which is ~800#, well I think you will see the issue. Having towed trailers in general for 25+years, and a 6000# RV for the last 5 years, I can tell you that an overloaded truck towing a trailer is not fun to drive. Meaning no disrespect, really, it never ceases to amaze me that people will only ask after they buy the trailer if the truck is capable of towing it safely. I spent a couple of months prior to purchasing the RV researching how much I could safely tow as regarded my payload capacity. My guess is that once you and the wife are in the truck with the trailer hitched up you will be overloaded. And it will get worse if you fill any of the tanks before driving.
CanyonMan
I hear ya and appreciate the comment. The thing is these trucks have a fairly low load capacity in the upper trim levels so it's a challenge. I don’t have it handy but I think my load is around 1100. I intend to only carry the minimum in the truck and put everything else in the trailer. It has a load capacity of 9995. It is my understanding that load and trailer capacity (mine is rated at max 8360) is derated because of oil temp issues. Otherwise capable of more. I’ll just watch the temps and see. My main concern is balancing the axle loads. Failing that, maybe a 2500 diesel...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think you should try to restore the front axle weight closer to the truck empty number of 3440. The truck will seem to wander a lot if you don't get this weight close. I know there is a special procedure to hook up WD bars with air suspension, but don't have a clue what it is.
One interesting thing I noted in the blue ox instructions after I posted is that they say owners of Ram trucks should set the ball height 2” above the normal setting for all other trucks. They don’t specify 1500s or 2500s, etc. The RV dealer set everything up and I doubt they accounted for it being a Ram. I’m going to call Blue Ox on Monday to ask why the different set up. Maybe that’ll effect the weight distribution...
 

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I hear ya and appreciate the comment. The thing is these trucks have a fairly low load capacity in the upper trim levels so it's a challenge. I don’t have it handy but I think my load is around 1100. I intend to only carry the minimum in the truck and put everything else in the trailer. It has a load capacity of 9995. It is my understanding that load and trailer capacity (mine is rated at max 8360) is derated because of oil temp issues. Otherwise capable of more. I’ll just watch the temps and see. My main concern is balancing the axle loads. Failing that, maybe a 2500 diesel...
Your "load capacity" is, I believe, the towing capacity, not payload capacity. I am well aware that the payload is less than stellar in the upper trim levels which is why I bought a Tradesman with only the options I wanted/needed and have a 1640#payload capacity. If your truck has ~1100# of payload capacity, that is what the truck can be loaded with not the towing capacity.
So let's do the math.
Trailer weighs ~7300#
12% tongue weight= 876#. That is if you don't add stuff and black/grey tanks are empty and you carry only nominal amounts of water. BTW, were the propane tanks full when you weighed as that weight is accounted for as cargo, not base weight.
Two passengers=~300#.
Someone can correct me here if I am wrong, but I believe that diesel fuel is accounted for as cargo and is not included as base weight. Even if you weighed it with a full tank, that is ~180# of fuel plus the DEF so let's say 250#.
So, that comes out to 1426#, excluding propane weight. Add to that the fact that you will be towing a 28' trailer and I do believe you will be wanting a 2500 sooner than you think.
There is a sticker on the door jamb that will tell you your payload capacity. Please don't confuse that with towing capacity. They are two completely different calculations that only have a few elements in common.
CanyonMan
 

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Some of us don't worry so much about the gross weight vehicle rating/restriction (GVWR) because the same exact frame/body/axle combination with a 5.7 hemi has more capacity and so the axle ratings are the limits.

if you do anything, stay within the axle ratings and you're well within those but realize you run out of horse power and you can't flat-foot it up the hills without cooking the oil... gotta know what you have to work with LOL.

swaypro or roundbar model?
swaypro has lots of options for bars
round bar is only 1 set of bars up to 1,200lbs so every link is going to make the stiff bars more pronounced then weaker bars adding links. It sounds like you need softer bars with more tension on them to get into the 1,000lb range

you're in a much better situation then I was, I rented an RV and even after moving weight back into the trailer I couldn't get the tongue weight down but the rental place did agree to put another washer in the tilt head for me next time after I showed them the scale slips.

you're setup weighed out great, and it'll stay that weigh (lol pun) if you keep adding weight in the trailer over the axles. If you load more weight in the back of the truck of forward in the trailer, the stiffer/stronger the WDH needs to be. try to keep trailer weight balanced and definitely forward of the axles.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hammer, I agree that max axle ratings are the main concern with regards to loading. Oil temps too. That said, may truck has a trailer capacity of just under 8400 so I’m currently well under that.

Yesterday I pulled the trailer to my son’s house about 100 miles away in Ventura. Had to drive through LA traffic and the way the setup performed was not confidence inspiring. I got there and broke out the Ox Pro manual, tookSome measurements, and realized the dealer installed the chain brackets about an inch too far forward and the ball about 2” low. Plus none of the bolts were torqued properly. I made the adjustments and drove back home the same route today with similar traffic. Starting out it didn’t feel entirely right. I stopped after about 5 miles and tightened the chain another link. Difference was night and day. Felt solid and didn’t do anything to cause my butt cheeks to clench the rest of the way.

Maintaining 65 was not a problem and a couple times I caught myself doing 70. There are a few short but steep grades with oil getting into the mid-240s. EVIC said I got 14.5 but hand calc said 13.8.

I feel like the set up is near perfect now. We’ll see once fully loaded. I was wondering if I would want a 2500 but not feeling I need it. The baby diesel is fine for now.
 

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Sounds like you've got the WDH set up just right - sometimes the specs and measurements in the manual have to take a back seat to seat-of-the-pants feedback.

There have been a couple comments in this section that the air suspension fights the WDH since the air is adjusting the ride height as you travel - NOT TRUE! The compressor isn't pumping air in with the relief valve dumping air/nitrogen out over every bump. The air suspension will bring the truck back up to standard height after the trailer is hitched up and the WDH bars or chains are connected but it doesn't constantly adjust the ride height.

Somewhere on here there is a thread that details hitching up with the factory air suspension and I've followed the procedure with no issues. This is how I've done it since I bought the truck:

  • Switch your factory air to "Tire Jack Mode" via the Uconnect screen (Settings/Suspension/Tire Jack Mode) which deactivates the compressor and leaves the truck at standard height.
  • Hook up the trailer and lift the trailer AND truck using the electric trailer jack, lever up the WD bars or chain then retract the trailer jack completely. Go back into Uconnect and deselect Tire Jack Mode; the truck's air system will lift the truck back up to standard height.
  • Reverse the process to drop the trailer.
In my opinion the factory air suspension is a great enhancement for towing trailers - I love mine.


Bob
 

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Sounds like you've got the WDH set up just right - sometimes the specs and measurements in the manual have to take a back seat to seat-of-the-pants feedback.

There have been a couple comments in this section that the air suspension fights the WDH since the air is adjusting the ride height as you travel - NOT TRUE! The compressor isn't pumping air in with the relief valve dumping air/nitrogen out over every bump. The air suspension will bring the truck back up to standard height after the trailer is hitched up and the WDH bars or chains are connected but it doesn't constantly adjust the ride height.

Somewhere on here there is a thread that details hitching up with the factory air suspension and I've followed the procedure with no issues. This is how I've done it since I bought the truck:

  • Switch your factory air to "Tire Jack Mode" via the Uconnect screen (Settings/Suspension/Tire Jack Mode) which deactivates the compressor and leaves the truck at standard height.
  • Hook up the trailer and lift the trailer AND truck using the electric trailer jack, lever up the WD bars or chain then retract the trailer jack completely. Go back into Uconnect and deselect Tire Jack Mode; the truck's air system will lift the truck back up to standard height.
  • Reverse the process to drop the trailer.
In my opinion the factory air suspension is a great enhancement for towing trailers - I love mine.


Bob
The air ride does fight the operation of a wd hitch. Not in the sense it adjusts constantly but by it not allowing sag which the hitch needs to function. To make it work you need to lift the back of the truck and tongue of the trailer at least 2 inchs from normal ride hight, then hookup the wd hitch. It makes it harder to get good weight transfer but its nice once its dialed in. Took multiple trips to the scales to get mine dialed in but if I disabled the air ride it was perfect. Its also very hard on the tongue jack so make sure its rated for at least 3k to do this.
 

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I'm glad you are taking the time to get the set up right.

Too many people trust the RV shop to get it right.

Thumbs up!
 

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Your "load capacity" is, I believe, the towing capacity, not payload capacity. I am well aware that the payload is less than stellar in the upper trim levels which is why I bought a Tradesman with only the options I wanted/needed and have a 1640#payload capacity. If your truck has ~1100# of payload capacity, that is what the truck can be loaded with not the towing capacity.
So let's do the math.
Trailer weighs ~7300#
12% tongue weight= 876#. That is if you don't add stuff and black/grey tanks are empty and you carry only nominal amounts of water. BTW, were the propane tanks full when you weighed as that weight is accounted for as cargo, not base weight.
Two passengers=~300#.
Someone can correct me here if I am wrong, but I believe that diesel fuel is accounted for as cargo and is not included as base weight. Even if you weighed it with a full tank, that is ~180# of fuel plus the DEF so let's say 250#.
So, that comes out to 1426#, excluding propane weight. Add to that the fact that you will be towing a 28' trailer and I do believe you will be wanting a 2500 sooner than you think.
There is a sticker on the door jamb that will tell you your payload capacity. Please don't confuse that with towing capacity. They are two completely different calculations that only have a few elements in common.
CanyonMan
Is your eco a crew cab? There is a sticker on the inside of the driver side door pillar that will say what the max payload is. I also have a tradesman just curious how you got 1640 and I’m stuck with 1,200 and change? Does your truck have a sticker like this?
 

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I am well aware of the position of the sticker you are referencing. I checked about a dozen of them while I was shopping for my current truck. The sticker actually states 1586# but at my Mopar account I am given 1640# of cargo carrying capacity after entering my VIN. My truck is a quad cab, 4x2 with power windows, door locks and mirrors. Since I am the only driver I saw no need for power seats. I bought this trim level to allow me to safely tow my 6000# travel trailer throughout the Intermountain West, and it has worked very well at that task. Have about 5000 miles towing this year and I am not done. Thanks to the GDE fairy I average ~25mpg city and as much as 34.5 hwy. While towing I usually get 15+ mpg. I understand that my CCC seems high to most people with a high trim level truck and all I can say is there are trade offs for things like air suspension, 4x4, Ram boxes and all the other bells and whistles. I really like my truck and hope it makes 300K+ miles. I do all of the scheduled maintenance myself. My only worry is getting flashed by the dealer with the new AEM. Since GDE will never sell the same tune again I will try to avoid the dealer at all cost.
CanyonMan
 

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The air ride does fight the operation of a wd hitch. Not in the sense it adjusts constantly but by it not allowing sag which the hitch needs to function. To make it work you need to lift the back of the truck and tongue of the trailer at least 2 inchs from normal ride hight, then hookup the wd hitch. It makes it harder to get good weight transfer but its nice once its dialed in. Took multiple trips to the scales to get mine dialed in but if I disabled the air ride it was perfect. Its also very hard on the tongue jack so make sure its rated for at least 3k to do this.
You have to lift the truck and trailer with the tongue jack no matter what to install the bars. The key is to set up the hitch with the air suspension in "Tire Jack Mode" with the trailer hitched up. Adjust the WDH so the truck doesn't squat more than an inch, tighten the bars one more notch and you're good to go. My setup does a great job minimizing sway and truck suck from passing semis and the bars are plenty tight.

When I'm hitched up and ready for the road my truck is about 1 inch lower than when empty so the WDH is doing it's job while also having enough pressure on the bars to do their job. IMO the air suspension is a fantastic option for those who tow.

Bob
 
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