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Old 01-27-2021, 09:50 AM   #1
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New to RVing - Looking into 253RB, sanity check

Hi all - new to the forum and to RVing! My wife and I plan to workamp around the US. We've been combing over things for months and are just about to pull the trigger on a setup, but I wanted to see if I could get some feedback while I'm here.

I've crawled all over this forum and others and have seen polarizing responses on whether I have plenty or not enough truck. Apologies in advance, I know people ask these all the time with different rigs, but I keep seeing conflicting answers.

Currently own a 2013 F-150 XLT 3.5L Eco, 3.31 axle, std tow pack, trailer tow cap 9400lb. I know I run out of truck payload before trailer weight and obviously plan to get a WDH, either a Blue Ox or Andersen (payload seems to max out with a 1050lb hitch weight with a WDH with what we will have on our truck).

Looking to get a 2018 Sunset Trail 253RB - GVWR is 7550 but that's with 2200 carrying capacity and I really don't see us getting even close to that. Dry tongue is 554, dry weight is 5356. Total length 29'11". I think there are plenty of configs for us to adjust load to hit a 10-12% tongue weight with the stuff we do have.

Every calc I've done, even with a fully loaded trailer, says we've got decent capacity to spare, but then everyone I talk to about it always asks if I'm sure I've got enough truck and say how F-150s with this axle or tow pack don't have a good time. The common solution seems to be upgrading the TV but so far it's the only thing I already own so I'm trying to work with it. We plan on driving all over the US, so mountain highways are definitely on the agenda.

Any feedback on this setup would be appreciated - if it seems manageable for some new RVers or if I'm missing something big. I hate to drop the $ on this rig only to get on the scales or road and find out something won't work.

Thanks all, and excited to be here!
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:32 AM   #2
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At 13% of the 7550 GVWR the tongue weight alone will be 980lbs + the weight of the WDH of 50-100lbs subtract that from the payload posted on the drivers door post of your truck, whatever is left is what you can carry in the truck which includes everyone/everything in/on that truck that didn't come from the factory. If that 1050lbs is your payload, which typically includes a 150lb driver & full of fuel, you can easily see you're already overloaded by 30-50lbs on the truck with nothing/nobody in the truck.
That max tow rating for the F150, any of the dry rv weights or published hitch weights are totally useless numbers for any of your calculations.
Can your truck "pull" that rv? Yes! Is within the weight limits of that truck to "carry" the weight of that rv? With numbers you've posted, NO!
If planning to travel the country work kamping believe me you will eventually have it loaded to the max so figuring from the GVWR of the rv is the safest number to calculate from.
As for the truck with that 3.31 rear axle it'll be struggling hard in the mountains, it's great for fuel mileage when not towing though. Not to mention towing a 7550lb giant block catching wind from every truck that passes with a lightweight truck.
In my opinion too much rv or not enough truck. But if doing as you plan that's barely enough rv to live in full-time for several months a years so more truck would be my recommendation. If looking at trucks skip the 3/4 ton & go straight to a 1 ton so your prepared for your next bigger/heavier rv upgrade, which as I said that 30'er will get awfully small at times living in it.
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:48 AM   #3
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At 13% of the 7550 GVWR the tongue weight alone will be 980lbs + the weight of the WDH of 50-100lbs subtract that from the payload posted on the drivers door post of your truck, whatever is left is what you can carry in the truck which includes everyone/everything in/on that truck that didn't come from the factory. If that 1050lbs is your payload, which typically includes a 150lb driver & full of fuel, you can easily see you're already overloaded by 30-50lbs on the truck with nothing/nobody in the truck.
That max tow rating for the F150, any of the dry rv weights or published hitch weights are totally useless numbers for any of your calculations.
Can your truck "pull" that rv? Yes! Is within the weight limits of that truck to "carry" the weight of that rv? With numbers you've posted, NO!
If planning to travel the country work kamping believe me you will eventually have it loaded to the max so figuring from the GVWR of the rv is the safest number to calculate from.
As for the truck with that 3.31 rear axle it'll be struggling hard in the mountains, it's great for fuel mileage when not towing though. Not to mention towing a 7550lb giant block catching wind from every truck that passes with a lightweight truck.
In my opinion too much rv or not enough truck. But if doing as you plan that's barely enough rv to live in full-time for several months a years so more truck would be my recommendation. If looking at trucks skip the 3/4 ton & go straight to a 1 ton so your prepared for your next bigger/heavier rv upgrade, which as I said that 30'er will get awfully small at times living in it.
Thanks for the quick response! I should clarify, the rated payload capacity of the truck is actually 1660; that 1050lb hitch weight was just me plugging in to see the most weight the trailer can put on the truck before it hits its first limit (that's also the actual hitch rating too, so I know I want to stay well clear of that).

Still, as you mentioned that doesn't change the fact about that axle rating / truck size / trailer GVWR. The trailer getting blown by every passing semi is definitely not a fun prospect.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:03 PM   #4
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You are a little short on gear ratio to begin with.
What cab configuration is your truck? What is the wheel base? Is it 2 or 4 wheel drive?
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:07 PM   #5
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Something i advise new campers to do that are not sure of there trucks capacity is to load it like you would be going camping. People,gas tank full, what ever you would carry in the bed-firewood,bikes. etc.hitch if you have it if not be sure to add that before you subtract. Then find a cat scale or a local Coop - where farmers weigh there trucks - and get a real world weight. Use this weight subtracted from the GCWR of the truck and that number will be the max your camper can weigh fully loaded. Then try to stay under that number with the camper.

My main concern would be that 3.31 gearing. That's a mileage ratio not very good for towing.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:40 PM   #6
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You are a little short on gear ratio to begin with.
What cab configuration is your truck? What is the wheel base? Is it 2 or 4 wheel drive?
4WD Extended cab w/ 6.5ft bed - 145" WB
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:22 PM   #7
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Colin, I can appreciate what you are trying to do with what you have to begin with.


I'm not trying to throw water on your thoughts and plans. I will just say this.


I have a 2013 Eco-Boost Super Crew 4X4.

Mine has Heavy duty payload, Max tow package, 3.73 gear ratio, and 10 ply tires. I'm already over your trucks GCWR by almost 2000#.
I think your GVWR is 1660#---mine is 2310#.
I have towed over and through the Rockies in CO. and on I-94 to WA. with my truck and trailer. It handled it well. What it didn't like was the head and side winds that are so often blowing like crazy in the plains states. Gas mileage was terrible there. I use to know what the pin weight was, but I have forgot it. If I had to guess I would say some where between 1400# and 1500# I do know fully loaded the trailer is well over 10,000#.
My opinion if you are serious about the work kamper thing. Get a bigger truck to start with. Like previously mentioned, you WILL be over the max posted for both the truck and the trailer. Then look at bigger units. Be it a pull behind or a 5th wheel. If you are going to be traveling the country living in it, You will need a little more
room and a little more capacity for all the (stuff) you WILL eventually accumulate.

Let us know what you decide, and I hope I have been of help.
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:17 PM   #8
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I realize budget is always a factor but the shine will soon wear off the excitement of a new rig setup as youíre bogging down on hills and mountain passes, into headwinds or meeting oncoming semiís when youíre underpowered. If your wallet will allow, move up to a minimum 3/4 ton with more than just adequate towing and payload capacity and an engine thatíll allow you to keep up (Iím partial to diesel for the torque but lots of folks swear by gas engines). Just my two cents worth.
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Old 01-27-2021, 04:13 PM   #9
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Not trying to discourage but i do not think the combination you are talking about will make for a happy trip. Have you done work camping before? I would think that in the long run you will want a larger camper and that means a bigger truck. Maybe you want to try the work camp for a little while to see if it fits your expectations. If you will not be moving a lot what you have may get by- barely -but enough to see if you like the work camp. Kind of like going full time. Lots to think about. Good luck.
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Old 01-27-2021, 07:40 PM   #10
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I’ve seen work campers in a smaller camper. But for me not big enough. And the truck IMO will be undersized. Stopping power with a 150 truck would be my worries. Not trying to discourage you but I don’t want to see anyone get hurt either.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:27 AM   #11
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Thank you all for your responses and the welcome - I appreciate the candidness, it's the reason I posted here! We're limited on the size of the trailer (for now) with our current worksite obligations, so even if I had a bigger truck we'd be keeping around the same trailer size for the next year or two. My wife I are used to living in tiny spaces with not much stuff already, but obviously we won't know for sure until we try it.

As for the configuration, for now I think our plan is to purchase the trailer - it's about 250 miles away, so we'd need to drive it dry for several hours and can test it in both plains and foothills. I feel good enough about testing it with dry weight, and we should get a feel if the truck is already on the edge or not. We won't be moving into it for a couple of months, where we have time to load it, scale it and potentially replace the truck. As you can imagine, it's tough to consider the finances of both a new truck and trailer, but I also get doing it right or not at all. Looks like I've got some more homework to do...
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:23 AM   #12
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Just FYI!
You won't be towing that 250 miles home at it's dry weight, once it left the factory & the delivery driver added a battery it NEVER weighed that again & NEVER will.
Being a used rv it will weigh several hundred pounds more than that posted dry weight as it will have 1 or 2 batteries, propane in the bottles, & several gallons of water in all of the holding tanks, once they're used it's nearly impossible to completely drain, plus whatever water/sewer hoses/fittings or other stuff the previous owner may leave behind.
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:37 AM   #13
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I don't know what you have on your truck for tires/what ply, but if they are a p rated tire, or a c rated you definitely want a heavier ply tire. Other wise that truck is going to feel pretty squirrely with that trailer hooked on.

Another thing, don't be afraid to increase the air pressure in the tires when you go to pick it up.
Good luck. Keep us posted.
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:59 AM   #14
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As lloyd said you will at least need LT - Light Truck - tires. If you are set on doing this PLEASE make sure that the hitch is set up correctly and you have a GOOD sway control system.

I understand that this is your first camper? A 30 ft camper with your truck will be a handful. And i understand about the camper purchase then having to replace your truck could be cost prohibitive. So i will say this Check out some of the videos on Youtube about trailer sway. In my years on the road i have seen a lot of peoples lives ruined because of pulling too big a camper with the wrong tow vehicle. Also just because the speed limit says "x" does not mean your rig can safely run at that speed.

Not trying to rain on your parade but think of the others on the road with you.

My advise is - if you do not have LT tires get them - get the best hitch/sway system you can - do not load anything the camper for the trip home - keep your speed down - Also do not expect to get very good gas mileage just a guess between 5-8 with your set up. Check my signature for my rig and thats what my mileage runs depending on the road and the wind.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-31-2021, 02:08 PM   #15
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TV questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinm View Post
Hi all - new to the forum and to RVing! My wife and I plan to workamp around the US. We've been combing over things for months and are just about to pull the trigger on a setup, but I wanted to see if I could get some feedback while I'm here.

I've crawled all over this forum and others and have seen polarizing responses on whether I have plenty or not enough truck. Apologies in advance, I know people ask these all the time with different rigs, but I keep seeing conflicting answers.

Currently own a 2013 F-150 XLT 3.5L Eco, 3.31 axle, std tow pack, trailer tow cap 9400lb. I know I run out of truck payload before trailer weight and obviously plan to get a WDH, either a Blue Ox or Andersen (payload seems to max out with a 1050lb hitch weight with a WDH with what we will have on our truck).

Looking to get a 2018 Sunset Trail 253RB - GVWR is 7550 but that's with 2200 carrying capacity and I really don't see us getting even close to that. Dry tongue is 554, dry weight is 5356. Total length 29'11". I think there are plenty of configs for us to adjust load to hit a 10-12% tongue weight with the stuff we do have.

Every calc I've done, even with a fully loaded trailer, says we've got decent capacity to spare, but then everyone I talk to about it always asks if I'm sure I've got enough truck and say how F-150s with this axle or tow pack don't have a good time. The common solution seems to be upgrading the TV but so far it's the only thing I already own so I'm trying to work with it. We plan on driving all over the US, so mountain highways are definitely on the agenda.

Any feedback on this setup would be appreciated - if it seems manageable for some new RVers or if I'm missing something big. I hate to drop the $ on this rig only to get on the scales or road and find out something won't work.

Thanks all, and excited to be here!
TV questions In my experience the weights and such that they give work really well on flat and level roads. It is when you get into the Rockies that you may experience some issues
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Old 01-31-2021, 02:17 PM   #16
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Colin,
First of all, welcome to the forum. Here’s my 2 cents which I think you’ll find relevant to your situation. I looked at (and fell on love with) the EXACT SAME RIG!
We have almost the same TV. I have the 5L V8. I went over every calc I could find to try and justify the math to convince myself my TV work. In the end, I could not.
It simply wouldn’t cut it and I had to be honest with myself. We ultimately purchased the 212RB. And I’m glad we did. If you look at the numbers for that I should be well within my capacity. I am but just barely. Please don’t use your dry weight as an indicator. My TT dry weight was advertised as 700. After several trips to the scales abs only modestly loaded my tongue weight averages 900#. I’m guessing you will average 1100.
I know how hard it is to face the fact you haven’t got enough truck but in the end I felt better safe than sorry. Good luck brother.
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Old 01-31-2021, 07:50 PM   #17
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My Input

I drive a 2016 F150 Lariat with a 5.0 ltr, crew cab, Can't tell you off hand the gearing. Pull a 29 ft Crossroads Sunset Trail BH which has a dry weight of 7880 lbs.

We are under powered, fine on the flat prairie, unless there is a head wind. Coming mountains is a bit of a chore.

I wish I had a Diesel or at least a 3/4 ton. My truck is under rated for the trailer.

I shutter to think where we sit with all the camping crap we carry, plus people, dogs never mind water.

If you have a 3.5 Eco I would not even consider any lengthy trip. True a VW beetle will pull the rig with the right WD and extra springs etc but how safe?

My 2 cents
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Old 01-31-2021, 07:52 PM   #18
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Welcome to the forum. I agree that you are at the limit with your tow vehicle/trailer combination. I would suggest getting rid of the P rated tires and looking into the Roadmaster Active Suspension. It made a big improvement on my F150. I may be in the same situation as you, I have a 2015 Ford F-150 super crew with the 3.5 Ecoboost with max tow and 6 1/2í bed and we are looking at a 28 or 30 ft 5th wheel. The numbers say it will work but I quess we just need to try it and see how the truck handles it. Good luck on your new venture.
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Old 01-31-2021, 08:18 PM   #19
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Welcome to the forum. I agree that you are at the limit with your tow vehicle/trailer combination. I would suggest getting rid of the P rated tires and looking into the Roadmaster Active Suspension. It made a big improvement on my F150. I may be in the same situation as you, I have a 2015 Ford F-150 super crew with the 3.5 Ecoboost with max tow and 6 1/2’ bed and we are looking at a 28 or 30 ft 5th wheel. The numbers say it will work but I quess we just need to try it and see how the truck handles it. Good luck on your new venture.
Any 5th wheel with a GVWR of 10k will not work with most any brand of 1/2 ton truck.
Adding LT tires, which is must for towing any trailer, nor beefing up the truck suspension with the Roadmaster or air bags will add a bit of payload or weight carrying ability to your truck, actually the weight of those add-ons subtract from the payload.
Check the yellow/white tag on the drivers door post that states "occupants & cargo must not exceed XXXX lbs", the pin weight alone of a 10k 5th wheel will be +/-2300lbs (23% of the GVWR), doubtful your F150 has that much.
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Old 02-01-2021, 05:43 AM   #20
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Welcome to the forum. As you can see I have a similar rig to yours. I pull it with a 2017 F-150 with a 5.0 and 331 axle. It does fine for weekend trips but in the foothills of southern Ohio it really winds up the rpms to make it over a 2 or 3 percent grade. My wife is getting ready to retire and we want to take longer trips, so we are biting the bullet and have a 2021 F-250 on order with the 7.3 gasser. After 2 years of camping, I wasn't comfortable with the f-150 on a long trip. I think you will really have trouble in any mountain situation with your current setup. What people don't realize is for every 1000 ft. of elevation you have to subtract a percentage of payload. The table is in your owners manual of your truck. Sorry to be a downer, but I hope this helps you with your decision. Good luck.
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