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Old 03-26-2006, 07:36 PM   #1
Dean A Van Peursem
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Is 700 lbs really important?

I have tried to read all the posts on this board that had anything to do with weights and towing capacities, etc. I must admit I have come to the conclcuion that my feet a firmly planted in mid air. Here is the issue. Trying to decide on a Montana 5th wheel to buy. 3400RL or 3475RL. The only real reason the 3475RL is being considered is that it is 700 lbs lighter well and maybe a little more walk around room but not sure about that yet.

The real question is: Will my 2003 F250 Lariat 7.3 Diesel Super Cab Long bed (42K miles) with all the heavy duty towing, spring and tire options be overloaded on the road with the 3400RL vs the 3475RL? Am I fencing with windmills or will the 3475RL really offer a weight advantage that puts me safely inside the 13,000 lb towing capacity rating and will the 3400RL really cause problems if I am over the 13,000 lbs a slight bit?

Please help us with some ideas on how to get through this simple but complex issue? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 03-26-2006, 08:04 PM   #2
Montana Sky
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Dean,
I would say try to find a coach that best suits your needs but keeps you inside your towing capacities of your tow vehicle. I love my 3400RL, but the towing capacity of my truck is 15,300 lbs and the gvwr of my coach is 13,790 lbs. In order for me to over weight the CC of my truck, I would have to over gross my coach. I would not recommend anyone towing more than their truck is rated for.
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Old 03-26-2006, 08:23 PM   #3
stiles watson
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Dean,

My Ford F250 gets the job done with my 3670 Big Sky which is a little heavier than the standard Montana.
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Old 03-26-2006, 09:00 PM   #4
richfaa
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Think I would be more concerned with the pin weight.Lets see if I can make this even more difficult. The listed shipping weight of the 3400 is 11650 and the 3475 is 10990. Those are both phantom numbers. Now add a 2nd A/C, perhaps Hi gloss gel coat, Dual pane windows and any other not standard option and the weight goes up. My guess is that the 11650 of the 3400 if you put it on the scales empty at the dealers would be closer to 12K and the 3745 closer to 11.5K. The campers are not shipped with full propane tanks or batteries so add some weight there. You would be flirting with the LEGAL limits of your truck with your "stuff" loaded in the camper.In my experience if you can't get 1500 lbs of " stuff" onboard you are not even trying. Some one has done all these weights..do a search.Might have been rickfox. Will it handle it is one question, Will it handle it legally is another question.
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:21 AM   #5
Jeff Heiser
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I agree with Rich. I have a close friend in the insurance industry. We got to talking just recently about travel trailers and 5th wheels and told her that we were considering going with a 5th wheel that was over a couple hundred pounds on the pin weight. What she told me set me straight. She stated that her company (a very large insurer of RV's) now routinely checks ALL weights in the case of accidents. If you are over on any they deny the claim for payment. To me this is and should be for anyone towing an RV, the most important aspect of selecting the correct TV and coach.

It bothers me greatly reading on this forum those that use their TV to tow rigs that far exceed at least one of the various weight points. Sure, just about any ¾ ton PU will be able to tow just about any of the Montana rigs available but are you really as safe as you think you are. Adding air bags, extra spring leafs, etc may be comforting to you and help make you believe you have all the bases covered when it comes to weight but…for example - if you are over on your pin weight and you blow a tire on the TV and that tire takes out another vehicle and my best friend who is a lawyer is the lawyer representing the other vehicle, it’s going to cost you A LOT OF MONEY out of your pocket and not your insurers pocket.

You need to be legal across the board or as said in a movie I saw years ago – “Do you feel lucky? Well do ya?”

God Bless America
Jeff Heiser
Merritt Island Florida
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:09 PM   #6
Montana_2913
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We were just told the same thing - about the insurance companies refusing to pay if you were over weight towing and in an accident. Not a chance I am willing to take. We found the PERFECT unit for us but it is over weight just a bit for our truck
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:35 PM   #7
dsprik
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Dean A Van Peursem

... 3400RL or 3475RL. The only real reason the 3475RL is being considered is that it is 700 lbs lighter well and maybe a little more walk around room but not sure about that yet.
Dean, I have been inside both units, and I may take off in a different direction from what others are discussing here, but... I believe the 3400 has more square footage than the 3475. My perception, and I haven't gone to the Montana Spec site (doesn't matter, though, because if you measure these units yourself, you most likely will not come up with the same length as posted - some are a couple feet off from the listed numbers), is that the 3475 is about 3 ft shorter than the 3400. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that the 3400 has more room in it.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:47 PM   #8
Dean A Van Peursem
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Ok, Thanks for the informative responses and especially the safety concerns. We have learned a bit more since I wrote this original note. If the stickers inside the kitchen cabinet can be trusted, then the weights in the brochure are not very accurate. Identically optioned (including gel coat) relative to dry weight, there is (Kitchen cabinet door sticker numbers) less than 200 lbs difference between the 3400RL and the 3475RL, 11,900 lbs vs 11,735 lbs respectively but the brochure "pin weight" is 1,975 lbs vs 2,000 lbs respectively. Don't know what the actual pin weight is on either. I'm not sure I understand why the 3475RL is so much heavier than the brochure data yet either. With only 200 lbs difference it is a no brainer for us to swing towards the 3400RL if the truck can handle it legally and safely.

I'm going to weigh my truck tomorrow, especially the rear axle to see how much pin weight I am allowed to have. I have the front and rear axle rating on the trucks door post so I can get a feel from that. I don't presently know how much of the pin weight is on the front vs rear axle at the moment when using a 5th wheel hitch.

Now relative to length differences, the brochure states that the difference is 5" with the 3400RL being longer. I haven't actually measured them. But we did pick up that there is 4 to 5 inches of difference just in the recliner seating area in the back. That may be where all the length difference is. We will have to tape both to find out how accurate the brochure is.

We were a bit taken back by how little weight difference there actually is between the two. To really get the weight down we would have to go to a shorter 5th wheel.

I appreciate all the helpful cautions and suggestions. We will keep flogging this until we have definitve answers on weight and safe & legal weight towing ratings. Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:46 AM   #9
Native Tex
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Dean - I own a 3400RL and can say it pulls very well due to the location of the kitchen/pantries over the axels; it is very well balanced. I had a 7.3L when I first got my Monty but now pull it with the newer 6.0L. Both do an excellent job and the old big block 7.3L is a very sound and reliable engine. I did add a Banks package that helped with the overall acceleration and braking which is about what you get with the 6.0L from the factory. Bottom line you can't go wrong with the 3400RL and the 7.3L complete package. Happy trails!
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:07 AM   #10
dsprik
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Dean, Richfaa and I went to the Toledo Show. Rich brought a tape and measured the new 2006 3400RL, with the new cap (mirror). It came to 39' 1". The specs on the Montana site (I don't have a brochure) say it is 37' 3". That's almost 2 ft off.

Others here on the MOC have contacted Keystone/Montana on this issue of differing specs. They have replied that these listed numbers are rough estimates (apparently quite "rough") and that differing options make it difficult for them to be more exact. They referred us to the sticker inside the cupboard. However, actually weighing it (and your truck) on scales is the only true way to find out exactly what you will be dealing with.

There are varying opinions on what truck to use, as posted earlier. How you plan on using the truck, plays a very large part in the determination. If you have a second (or third car), and only plan on using the truck to tow your Montana, while never using it as a daily driver, I'd go for the 1 ton dually, or even a 4500 (F-450) or a 5500 (F-550).

If you are going to use this truck as you only daily driver, you will need to balance that thought with the gas mileage, additional maintenance (two extra tires, etc), parking ability (although, not in this forum, I have gotten, "Well, my wife loves driving the MDT/HDT rig to WalMart! Don't worry - she'll get used to it" Great - mine wouldn't. In fact I would venture to say the MOST wives won't want to).

The dually will present some daily driver problems. Drive throughs - both McDonalds (I like to go in, Cheryl doesn't. So...) and banks (after hours banking are done a lot by us - we still use internet banking, but for some reason, we always seem to have to get to the bank for a deposit after hours, or after the lobby closes - my Workers Comp and LTD ins do not direct deposit, and Cheryl is a waitress - no direct deposit and cash tips), along with the parking and turning (ever drive a duallie long bed around where you had to do a lot of turning? There will be a learning curve).

Not saying you won't get used to driving something that size as a daily driver, but there are other factors. You will go through more fuel. Most trucks do not change engines when they go from a 3/4 SRW to a 1 ton SRW to a 1 ton DRW - or even when they jump to the 4500 and the 5500. You are therefore starting to drag around a lot more steel and rubber with the same diesel engine. Common sense will tell you that your gas mileage will not remain the same throughout this range of vehicles, if you plan on using this extensively as a daily driver.

We plan on towing very little. We are getting the 3400RL and we will pull it with a 2500 Chevy CC short bed (slider hitch) 4x4. For instance, we plan on first traveling to Asheville, NC to visit Cheryl's sister. We will stay for a month of a non-towing visit. We then will travel to the Tampa/Orlando area for the winter (the first year) for an extended stay (3 months). As you can see, daily driver concerns will be high on our list of considerations.

Many Montana owners do this type of living. Others who are not FT, only weekend and take an annual vacation, and their tv sits for 5 days to a month in between these trips (when Monty goes into winter storage, most just use the tv occasionally as a second vehicle). If I were doing this, I know I would have a 1 ton duallie long bed (bigger gas tank than a SB) and probably drive it only very occasionally in the winter to keep the carbon/rust out of it. Most of my driving would be a 30 mpg Park Ave - as it is now.

There are some FTers that move around a lot - through mountains and such - a week here, a few days there - they put a lot of hauling miles on their tv and mountainous terrain is a major consideration for them.

Above all, no matter what you have, you have to study your weights and no EXACTLY what your limitations (and your combined rig setup) are - whether a 3/4 ton SRW, or a 5500 with a modified bed. Do you know what the majority of the vehicles in the ditches in N. Mich are after the first snow (and probably most of the winter)??? SUVs and 4x4 pickups. Strange? No. Anytime you over estimate your limits - of either your vehicle, or yourself (or both) - there will be a problem, no matter of how "over TVed" you think you are.

Heed everyone's advice here, then make your own decision, and always drive with care and courtesy. You will be fine. On thing about this forum, is that everyone here is helpful on this issue (unlike every other rv forum I've been on). While they may sound adamant about their convictions, their goal is to try to help a fellow MOCer avoid a possible dangerous mistake or problem. They are NOT trying to show off, and show everyone what a big jerk they are. Never experienced that? Go to another forum and try posting a weight related question. You'll probably only do it once.

These comments spring from my education from what I have gathered from this great forum (family) over the past nine months. They are JMHO.

*On Edit~ Sorry about the long post...
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:25 AM   #11
jrgwdenner
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We haven't met a bank or a McDonald's that we couldn't drive through. The problem isn't with the truck....our arms are just too short! Small inconvenience for the security of having the dually.
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:34 AM   #12
Parrothead
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I can go through the drive up window at the bank just fine with our CC long bed dually. And I'm a female and do not drive the TV that much but I'm glad we have it when we are towing. It is our only vehicle. Wouldn't change for anything.
Happy trails....................
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:22 PM   #13
dsprik
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Sue, you're just a wild woman! Do you bunge jump? I don't, but I know there gals that do that too.

I wouldn't suggest that a little inconvenience at a drivethru should be a major consideration for a tv. I have major problems at ANY drive through right now - even with my Park Ave - since my shoulder surgery in October (getting better slowly). However, many little things add up that will equal a major consideration, eventually. Also I have found that what one person considers a minor thing, there's always someone else that will consider the very same situation to a "life changing" problem.

I feel Sue getting ready to respond to that bunge jumping comment...
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:01 PM   #14
Dean A Van Peursem
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Before we get too far off topic let me provide some hard facts I learned today about the 3400RL and the 2003 Ford F250 Super Cab, Lariat, 8' bed, 7.3L Diesel engine purchased with all available HD options and Trailer Towing packages available in 2003. Loaded is probably an appropriate term.

After many discussions with the Montana 5th Wheel Dealers, Ford truck dealers and additional 5th wheel owners I have come to an arbitrary but truthful, I beleive, conclusion. "ALL" 5th wheel owners are overloading (Ford Guidelines) the 2003 F250 (and maybe newer ones and 350's as well) no matter how small the 5th wheel is. I have come to the conclusion that the way Ford specs the trucks one cannot haul a 5th wheel or a brd camper and stay within Fords guidelines as follows:

Here are the specs published on my door frame on the F250:

GVWR = 8800 lbs
Front axle = GAWR 5200 lbs
Rear axle GAWR = 6084 lbs
Tires LT 265/75R16E

I weighed my truck today, empty, on a certified scale with a 1/4 tank of Diesel fuel:

Total gross weight = 7180 lbs
Front axle weight = 4350 lbs
Rear axle weight = 2830 lbs

Now if we put two tall people in the truck plus some personal belongings and some stuff in the truck bed plus the 5th wheel hitch mechanism, plus a full tank of diesel fuel, lets estimate then the total weight of the truck is around 8,000 lbs. Then the payload avalable for pin weight is 800 lbs. No reasonably sized 5th wheel I'm aware of has that little amount of pin weight and no reasonable sized truck camper weighs such a small weight. And it would be hard to find any loaded full sized equipment trailer that only adds 800 lbs of hitch weight. At least not the ones I have hauled cross country.

So my conclusion is, if one has to stay within Ford's guidelines for this truck all one can haul is a light bumper hitch trailer. Now we all know that isn't what is happening in the real world. So IMHO the real question is how much is reasonable, legal and safe to overload (over Ford's guidelines) this type of vehicle? I suspect that most 5th wheelers are at least 1,000 to 2,000 lbs over on GVW on the truck itself. Towing weight is easier to comply with I think.

What are the the flaws in the conclusions I have come to? Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and safety warning that have been offered to date. It is sincerely appreciated.



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Old 03-28-2006, 03:52 PM   #15
richfaa
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Good job on the research. Here is what is on the door of my 05-F-350-CC -LB-Dually
GVWR 12600lbs
Front axle 4450lbs
Rear axle 9000 lbs
Tires LT245/75R17E

That is why I have the 1 ton Dually. It is not all that pretty, Won't fit in the garage, Takes up two parking spots, lot of places it won't fit, But it will yank around any Montana and handle any pinweight
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:05 PM   #16
Parrothead
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Dave
I did two free falls in my younger days. Much better than bungee jumping. I really think everyone is making to big of a deal about the dually, it is not that difficult. I just got back from shopping - parked in two different parking lots with no problems.
Happy trails........................
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:04 AM   #17
BillyRay
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don't forget all the added weight of anything you put in it as well. we have a tendency to add alot more weight than you would think!
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:22 AM   #18
dsprik
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by richfaa

Good job on the research. Here is what is on the door of my 05-F-350-CC -LB-Dually
GVWR 12600lbs
Front axle 4450lbs
Rear axle 9000 lbs
Tires LT245/75R17E

That is why I have the 1 ton Dually. It is not all that pretty, Won't fit in the garage, Takes up two parking spots, lot of places it won't fit, But it will yank around any Montana and handle any pinweight
Good research, Rich!

Sue, were those two free falls on purpose? (Just thinking of my own experience...) You almost have me convinced to at least DRIVE a duallie, before I start bad mouthing them. My only concern is driving from FL to MI on occassion w/o pulling anything, which may happen in our situation. Really don't want to get beat up too bad.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:36 AM   #19
richfaa
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I have to tell this story. When we sold our TT last September we of course dropped the Insurance.Last week I called our Agent just to get the "numbers " on the new 3400 Montana. This agency is owned by a old friend of mine and we have used them for years.Thay have ALL of our insurance. They of course asked all the usual questions, some I could answer, some I could not, since the 3400 has not yet been delivered, but enough to get a dollar estimate. Year, Make, Model, VIN, how much did you pay, where is it kept. The usual questions, They said they would send me the quote in a few days.. Well they called yesterday and said the "home office" of the Insurance company we are using(same one as before) needed some additional information. Information I had NEVER been asked to give before by any company. Year, make and model of the truck, GVWR of the RV and truck. I had to supply that information as part of the "application" (why could they not look it up) New policy the agent said. Of course we know what is up here . The insurance companies are looking for new way to deny claims. Now I don't know what the company would have done had I been over the weight limits..would be interesting to find out..would they have denied Insurance???? I would suggest we ALL have a chat with our Insurance companies..something is afoot here.
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:44 AM   #20
Kathi
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I am with Parrothead....Sue, I know you know what an IN-N-OUT is right? Well when we were living in Rancho Cucamonga California last year, I took our Dodge 1 ton Dually through the drive up window...Those workers just about fell out the window. They couldn't believe I did it. I told them to never under estimate a women...I was kidding but you just have to realize that the truck is wider but it does follow the front of the truck. I have been driving since I was 9 years old. My parents always had trucks and my dad use to take me up into the hills and turn me loose...My daughter was taught the same way. I love our truck and am not scared to take it anywhere. I find I feel more confident with it pulling the trailer. It handles better because of the rear wheels I believe...But again it is all in what you can afford, what you like and what you feel comfortable driving. Right fellow MOC'rs.....
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