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Old 05-16-2012, 05:30 AM   #1
TimButterfield
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I'm researching towards getting our first RV. After looking at several other brands, TTs and 5ers, we are now looking at the Montana. It will mostly be used for several months at a time before moving to a different location. We will be using a SRW truck instead of DRW as it will be a better daily driver especially while we are at home in the Chicago 'burbs. We have a 2012 Ram 2500 Crew Cab Long Bed 4x4 Cummins, 3.73 axle ratio, with Timbrens added. Since other items are the same, I'm using 3500 SRW numbers for capacity checks (mostly rear GAWR due to tires). If we get a Montana, I'm planning to get the Mor/Ryde hitch pin and a Hensley TrailerSaver BD3 air ride hitch to reduce transient load spikes a little. The 3700RL we saw was nice, but turned out to be a bit tight on truck pin capacity. The brochure we received had a 2,135 hitch weight for it instead of the 2,525 weight I saw on the web site specs page after getting back home. The 3000RK and 3400RL might work okay and we hope to look at those next.

I have read through many of the threads on the 94 pages of the general discussion forum and have learned much already. Some of these may become tweaks to my own version of the PDI checklist, like verifying the spare matches the other G rated tires, swapping the plastic black tank flush value with a brass one, etc.

After that reading, I now wonder about the RK and whether that location would result in more item bounce compared with a central location. Maybe the RL would be preferred for that aspect. I have heard the 3400RL is the most popular model of the most popular fifth wheel. Perhaps we will end up with one yet.

Tim
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:42 AM   #2
jimcol
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We have the 3000RK and love the unit. The rear kitchen does get a lot of bounce and we really had to learn how to load the kitchen items. In hind site we wish we had popped for the 3400 just because of the extra space the 2 additional slides provide. The wife still loves the functionality of the rear kitchen. Jim
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:09 AM   #3
TerryClaudia
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We have the 3700RL Monty and we love it! The one thing I regret is that a lot of the National and State parks can't handle anything over 34'. We would have a lot more parks to choose from with a shorter rig. But have to admit we love all that space and admenities. Good luck with your search you will love any one you get. Claudia
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:32 PM   #4
1retired06
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Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into it. Our 2005 was a rear kitchen, and we experienced no problems because of that. As you indicated, you need to watch that Pin Weight.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:37 PM   #5
TimButterfield
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Thanks for the feedback. We looked at SOB TT with a full width front kitchen and a rear basement. It was nice, but a 5er may be better while towing even with a Propride 3P for the TT. We were doing some tent camping last year and noticed on a campground web site they offered a discount to Escapees. I checked it out, joined last summer, and started researching RVs. We're getting to the point where we are ready to finally get one. With SRW, I'm a bit concerned about pin weight. I don't want to use all of our safety margin all of the time. It's a fine balance between that, floorplan, and features.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:30 AM   #6
CamillaMichael
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We have the 3400 and travel fairly light...still, our pin weight turned out to be around 2800. You really need to be careful of ALL the weights, not just one of them. Also, judging your 2500 to be the same as a 3500 may be a disaster in the making. All of the weights count and they all seem to vary with each individual vehicle and trailer.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:56 AM   #7
Art-n-Marge
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The basis for CamillaMichael's facts are that brochures are very inaccurate. Each trailer may weigh differently because each trailer is equipped and loaded differently. You don't mention what model year's for the trailers you are looking at and my truck cannot tow the newer models. You cannot rely on payload, shipping weight or any other numbers in a document or spec sheet.

The best thing that works is look at the gross trailer weight rating, hope you stay under that and calculate 18% to 25% of that weight is going to be on your rear axle (and added to the gross weight as well). You may have read that one usually calculates 15% but this only works for horse trailers, cargo trailers or utility trailers. Residential trailers are 18% to 20% because of their large size at the pin and the amount of storage in front of the axles which quickly boosts the pin weight.

My '06 residential Montana is at 20% at the pin and I am only a casual RVer. Most others use their trailers much more than we do and would therefore carry more stuff. It sounds like you'll be using your trailer more than we do.

Also note, that items such as Timbrens or even air bags do NOT increase the weight carrying capacity of a TV. This is because these points might not be where the limitation exists. In all vehicles, there are many other factors besides the engine, trans, differential, wheels or tires that create the weight limit and the rear springs might not be where the weakness lies.

When I first got my rig I was overweight at the rear axle and the GVWR for my SRW Ford. The CGWR and tow ratings were fine. So if ANY point is overweight it's considered a problem. After lots of research and confirmation I was able to legally upgrade my truck to an F-350 to solve the weight rating problems successfully (new overload spring, the hardware for it, and some larger wheels and tires), but did not certify my truck for the new ratings because this was a huge expense I did not need. Instead I am limited to personal, non-commercial use and this is just fine for me. This cannot be done for all model year vehicles but I got lucky.

And now I wish good luck to you.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:28 AM   #8
TimButterfield
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Thanks for the concern. I researched the Ram 2500/3500 SRW difference quite a bit. The only difference between the two is an extra spring and 64 pounds. I have heard it explained this way. The 2500 is a 3500 SRW that has been de-rated for registration purposes (< 10K GVWR). Other than that spring, everything else, axles, frame, tires, etc. is the same between them. There is only a 200 pound difference in rear GAWR. That is why, with the Timbrens installed, I feel comfortable using the 3500 SRW ratings for my checks. I created a spreadsheet to check truck and trailer weights and rating numbers. I calculated available rear GAWR for the truck given base weight + hitch, gear, etc. I also calculated GVWR pin weight for the trailers using the same pin weight percentage as at empty. (I know the pin weight percentage can change with how it is loaded, but needed some base number for comparison.) While the truck rear GAWR could handle 3700 GVWR pin weight, it was too close for me. The 3400 has a larger cargo weight capacity, but allowed almost 400 pounds more cushion by comparison, partly due to lower pin weight percentage. Of course, I cannot know until loaded what actual pin weight is. For both your truck and mine, the tires are probably the limiting factor as they are load range E rated at about 3,000 each. (Reminds me of the Marathon vs G614 issue.) Or, are your truck tires rated for a higher capacity? If so, what do you have? (Thanks.) If this does become an issue, I can always upgrade the truck wheels/tires to something like the Rickson 19.5" wheels and higher rated tires. Depending on actual weights, I may need that if I decide to eventually add the generator.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:59 AM   #9
TimButterfield
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We are currently looking at 2012/2013 models. After returning from our initial look at a 3700, I found the brochure specs to be quite a bit less than the web site specs (hitch weight of 2,135 vs 2,525). That's why we are now going to look at the 3400. I used the higher numbers from the web site in my calculations.

Here are some rough translations of the forumlas I guessed at:
GVWR pin weight = (hitch / shipping weight) * (shipping weight + cargo)
TV rear gear weight = (base weight rear / base weight front) * (500 pounds of hitch, person, gear, etc.)
TV pin capacity = rear GAWR - rear base weight - rear gear weight
Safety Cushion = TV pin capacity - GVWR pin weight

Going by the spec sheet numbers, the 3700 only had 104 pounds of cushion, but the 3400 had 490 pounds of rear GAWR cushion. Actual loading will vary, but is unknown at this point. Our TV is already equipped with dual coolers, exhaust brake, brake controller, etc. As I will not be towing very often (mostly every several months and mostly in the flatter midwest area), I'm more concerned about rear GAWR and not so much about GCWR.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:26 PM   #10
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We have had our rig weighed twice and are well within the Dodge specs. More important, handling, pulling and stopping are all done with comfort. You'll like a Monty, particularly if you're going to be in it for months at a time.
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:42 PM   #11
TimButterfield
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Dick & Joyce, Thanks. I'm glad it's a comfortable tow. Are you using a fixed hitch or air ride? Are you within all 2500 specs or just rear GAWR? With the extra equipment on your Laramie compared with our ST, the spec sheet shows your payload as 120 pounds less, which increases our cushion a bit more. Do you have the 3.73 or 4.10? It doesn't affect payload, but does affect max trailer weight. Our is the 3.73. Here's the spec sheet I'm looking at: http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/towing_g...wing.Specs.pdf

We took a look at the 3400RL today. I think we have completed our in-person floorplan check phase. Depending on how our finances end up next month, the 3400RL will be our first choice. Our second choice is a larger, but much less expensive TT, an Open Range Journeyer JT359FK. With the rear basement and being able to use the truck bed, I think the TT would have more storage than the Monty. But, I think we like the Monty better, especially the built in desk. With the TT, we would need to remove the sofa to put in a desk. Our dealer is well known, Tiara in Elkhart. They carry both brands. Hopefully, by early next month, we will have our order in. With the plant vacation in July, we should picked it up in September. For now, I can wait and second guess myself.
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:54 PM   #12
DQDick
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Actually we're a Maxi Cab and not on that chart, our specs on the door are higher than any of those but not by a whole lot. We do have the 3.73. We use a Reese 15K slider base with a Reese 20K head on it. Our trailer came with the MorRyde pin box and we like that a lot.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:50 PM   #13
seahunter
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Hi,

For what it's worth, I thought I would post this from an old post of mine. I got the camper certification for the F-350 DRW we just got, and the maximum allowable weight is 3,727 pounds (payload) and the maximum gross vehicle weight is 13,300. Truck is about 9,000 pounds. After gear and hitch, and depending on what percentage you estimate for pin weight, even with a DRW diesel (3.73 gears), I am right near the maximum for towing a 15,500 pound Montana (figuring pin weight at twenty percent of 15,500 would be 3,100 pounds so it's within capacity but not by much.) The stated brochure weights for the trailer pin weights are usually low, so actual weights are what you need to try to get. Bottom line, even with a 350 dually diesel I just feel comfortable towing this weight range of Montanas and would be very concerned with a 250/2500 unless properly upgraded.



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Old 05-20-2012, 02:06 PM   #14
TimButterfield
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When I check slide-in camper rating sheet for ours, it say "Not recommended." One thing I notice on the specs page is that other than model trim (ST, SLT, etc.), equipment is not factored in. For example, there are no stated capacity differences for options like the dual coolers and brake controllers. Obviously, such things have a non-zero effect on how towed weight is handled. I figure I'm okay if I use calculated GVWR pin weights as I mentioned before and keeping that within my calculated/remaining rear GAWR. Now, I'm starting to think of the mechanism by which this could be accomplished, i.e., the hitch, and how that would factor in.

Tim

Edit: Moved hitch comments to separate towing thread.
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