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Post Info TOPIC: Tow Vehicles, Weight Ratings and Detuned Engines


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Tow Vehicles, Weight Ratings and Detuned Engines


 

Hello to all.  I am brand new to this forum and soon to enter the 5th wheel full-timing lifestyle.  We are soon to get our 39' New Horizons unit, with a GTW of 24,250 lbs. and pin weight of about 4600 lbs.  Reading previous posts on this and other forums about tow vehicle comparisons, we're leaning toward the F550 or 5500 counterpart in the GM or Ram line, fitted with a hauler bed.  Each of the weight ratings on the F550/5500 trucks seem much more in line with the heavy trailer we're about to tow, compared to 350/3500 or 450/4500 trucks.

 

In the MDT pickups, the engines are de-tuned to fit the commercial regulations.  For example are the Fords - 2017 6.7L PowerStroke engine puts out an amazing 440 hp and 925 footpounds of torque if the engine is in a consumer truck version (F350 or F450).  Contrast that to the chassis/commercial models of either the F350, F450 or F550 where the 6.7L diesel engines are modified to 330 h.p. and 750 Lb.-ft. of torque in the 2017 units.

 

My question is this - Does this "detuning" affect the towing experience much, such as when accelerating on an entrance ramp or considering we will at times be towing on grades in mountains, etc.?  I would much rather have the increased power, but not if it means a lighter truck that may not have the longevity to be able to handle a 24,250 5th wheel load over several years of full-timing.

 



-- Edited by bulgmaf on Sunday 26th of February 2017 09:22:07 AM

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bulgmaf wrote:

 

We are soon to get our 39' New Horizons unit, with a GTW of 24,250 lbs. and pin weight of about 4600 lbs.  ..

My question is this - Does this "detuning" affect the towing experience much, such as when accelerating on an entrance ramp or considering we will at times be towing on grades in mountains, etc.? .

-- Edited by bulgmaf on Sunday 26th of February 2017 09:22:07 AM


I am not sure how you derived the "GTW of 24,250 lbs. and pin weight of about 4600 lbs". Assuming you are purchasing a new 39' fifth-wheel, the GTW sounds reasonable, but the pin weight will likely be 6,000 lbs or possibly heavier based upon knowing our numbers and numbers of others. For example, we are 40' and purposely had our AGM batteries bank mounted directly in front of the axles and the generator behind the axles, to proactively lessen our pin weight. We also do not have the additional bedroom slide (i.e., the 4th slide), which would increase the pin weight. We do have a washer and dryer and added 3' in the bedroom, which adds to the pin weight. Our pin weight is 6,250 lbs (25%, even with shifting weight around to minimize the pin weight). I am aware of numerous New Horizons with pins weights that are over 25%, but there are also others with lighter proportional pin weights -- how much stuff you carry in your basement, if you have the 4th slide, extended bathroom or bedroom, etc. all affects the pin weight.

Regarding "Does this "detuning" affect the towing experience much" -- the simple answer is yes, you will be going slower up steep hills. However, the more important point is you will be overweight with anything less than a 2013 or later year Ram 5500, based upon my experience and knowledge of the weights of others with 39/40' New Horizons. The rear axle of the Ford 550 will potentially not be sufficient, unless they have increased the capacity since 2014 (i.e., the last time I checked those specs).



-- Edited by Lynn and Ed on Sunday 26th of February 2017 12:57:15 PM

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2014 New Horizons Majestic 40'
2014 Ram 5500 HD with Utility Bodywerks hauler body

Enjoying this chapter in our lives!!!



RV-Dreams Family Member

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bulgmaf wrote:

 

My question is this - Does this "detuning" affect the towing experience much, such as when accelerating on an entrance ramp or considering we will at times be towing on grades in mountains, etc.?  I would much rather have the increased power, but not if it means a lighter truck that may not have the longevity to be able to handle a 24,250 5th wheel load over several years of full-timing.

 


-- Edited by bulgmaf on Sunday 26th of February 2017 09:22:07 AM


 Yes, less HP and less torque means less acceleration and with a trailer, such as the NH you spec-ed out. Welcome to the MDT world.  A “pickup” is not an acceptable choice to not be well overweight on the rear axle in the real world.

First, de-tuned engines are a fact of life for all commercial trucks, including the F-450 commercial truck.  (Not the pickup which has limited rear axle capacity vs. the F-450 commercial truck.)  They are that way to better assure longevity in commercial, i.e. every day heavy duty service.

Our truck and trailer, weight wise, is the same as your NH trailer.  Do I find the "reduced" power to be an issue?  Frankly, no.  I’ve towed our NH with a 396HP / 376 FT torque 3500HD all the way to Alaska and back.  I’d MUCH rather have the RAM 5500HD even though it has less HP.  Why?  No drama.  The truck pulls and more over controls the trailer with such ease vs. the smaller truck.  I don’t have acceleration issues.  Beside, this is not a race.  If you can’t merge safely with 330 HP then I suggest one not try.  That’s based on a lot of towing miles but is my opinion based on the weight you will be towing. 

To the weight issue:  With a NH or the size and weight you indicate the smallest truck so as to never be overloaded is either the RAM 5500HD or the F-550.  The rear axle of the F-550 will be just fine with the NH your having built in the current model year.  That’s not the problem.

Here’s the reason to choose the RAM: The RAM has an extremely effective exhaust brake.  The Ford does not have an exhaust brake.  For 2017 the specs are about the same for the two trucks.  Prior to 2017 The RAM had more HP and Torque then the Ford.  Quite a bit more.  But if you’re buying a 2017 the HP and torque numbers are the same.  However, as mentioned, the exhaust brake is the decision maker.  I wouldn’t purchase a truck without one for towing.

With a hauler bed up-fit, from Utility or Classy Chassis, I prefer the latter but both are fine, an aux fuel tank, air-ride hitch and the NH fully loaded you will still be fine weight wise with either truck. “Almost impossible" to overload the 5500HD with that trailer in all regards.  But anything less, including commercial F-450’s or 4500HD’s and you’ll be either close or over.  I’ve done the math for the NH and the 5500HD.  Not speculation.

24,250 trailer w/ 25% pin which is 6,000lb (much more than you will have)  – Truck fully loaded with 112 gallons fuel, hauler bed, etc. etc.  Reserves: -  Rear axle 1,300lb reserve capacity – Gross Combined – 1,300lbs reserve capacity – front axle 1,400lb reserve capacity – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – 1,300lb reserve capacity, etc.  These are scale verified numbers.

The primary point with the RAM 5500HD towing the 24,250lb NH for us is “no drama.”  It’s just a perfect combination and we have thousands of towing miles now with our NH upon which to base that comment.  Power, for us, not a problem.

Hope that helps a bit. PM me if you would like additional information.

Bill



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Bill and Linda wrote:
...

Here’s the reason to choose the RAM: The RAM has an extremely effective exhaust brake.  ... I wouldn’t purchase a truck without one for towing.

...


I could not agree more, that the exhaust brake is a good idea. We have driven over many steep mountain ranges, we have never experienced any downhill drama (i.e., no white knuckles that are sometimes mentioned when driving down steep grades). Between downshifting and the exhaust brake, we infrequently (if needed at all) touch the brakes.



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2014 New Horizons Majestic 40'
2014 Ram 5500 HD with Utility Bodywerks hauler body

Enjoying this chapter in our lives!!!



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Bill and Linda wrote:
 

 

Here’s the reason to choose the RAM: The RAM has an extremely effective exhaust brake.  The Ford does not have an exhaust brake.  For 2017 the specs are about the same for the two trucks.  Prior to 2017 The RAM had more HP and Torque then the Ford.  Quite a bit more.  But if you’re buying a 2017 the HP and torque numbers are the same.  However, as mentioned, the exhaust brake is the decision maker.  I wouldn’t purchase a truck without one for towing.

 

 

Bill


 What does Ford due to the 6.7 Powerstroke engine in the F-550 that deletes the exhaust brake(actually VVT)? Since they went to the single turbo verses twin sequential they have out preformed all of the big 3 in every downhill test ran in the 350/3500 series testing. Do they use a different turbo, tune the VVT to not close? Interesting as I never heard that was different. I have always thought they used a different tune on the engine performance wise like the Cummins does. Here is a link to the test Pickuptrucks.com did when Ford first changed their turbo. http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2014/08/ultimate-one-ton-hd-challenge-davis-dam-exhaust-brake-test.html

 



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2014 Landmark Savannah



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I am not sure how you derived the "GTW of 24,250 lbs. and pin weight of about 4600 lbs".


-- Edited by Lynn and Ed on Sunday 26th of February 2017 12:57:15 PM


 

The 4600 lb pin weight came directly from the horse's mouth when we toured the NH facility last week.  They are currently manufacturing units with a pin weight at average of 19% of empty trailer weight, give or take.  Of course that doesn't account for added stuff.

 

As far as the 2017 F550 rear axle, it is rated at 14,706 GAWR on the model/specs we are looking at.  In the 2017 Ram 5500s they are rated at 13,500.  It wouls seem both are fully capable.



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Bill and Linda wrote:

Here’s the reason to choose the RAM: The RAM has an extremely effective exhaust brake.  The Ford does not have an exhaust brake.  For 2017 the specs are about the same for the two trucks.  Prior to 2017 The RAM had more HP and Torque then the Ford.  Quite a bit more.  But if you’re buying a 2017 the HP and torque numbers are the same.  However, as mentioned, the exhaust brake is the decision maker.  I wouldn’t purchase a truck without one for towing.


 

Bill, good info, thanks.  Especially since you've had experience driving both the 3500 and the 5500.  The F550s are using exhaust braking but it is an option (which I would definitely add).

From Ford's Commercial Chassis/Cab webpage:

Power

Standard
  • Engine - 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel engine
  • TorqShift® 6-speed SelectShift® Automatic Transmission
Optional
  • Upgraded Diesel Engine-Exhaust Braking
  • DEF Tank Level Gauge (Diesel Engine)


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RV-Dreams Family Member

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bulgmaf wrote:

 

Bill, good info, thanks.  Especially since you've had experience driving both the 3500 and the 5500.  The F550s are using exhaust braking but it is an option (which I would definitely add).

From Ford's Commercial Chassis/Cab webpage:

Power

Optional
  • Upgraded Diesel Engine-Exhaust Braking
  • DEF Tank Level Gauge (Diesel Engine)

 Ah, new for 2017.  Good.  Mark, with an exhaust brake then perhaps, for you, the F-550 will make a good choice.  I had test driven both the RAM 5500HD and the F-550 when making a choice between the two.  For us it was a clear choice.  At that time it was a neutral brand choice as I was driving a Chevy (which we loved.)  So no "fan boy" brand choice on my part.  There were other mechanical factors that lead us to choose the RAM and one subjective one was that Linda preferred the ride and the interior of the RAM.  Either will handle the NH weight wise.  Just make sure the exhaust brake is truly effective on the F-550.  As Lynn and Ed commented, this is a really important factor pulling the big heavy trailer.

Oh, and don't believe the pin weight in spite of the axle move forward on the current NH's. LOL It will go up. "Ask me how I know this." (Shoe load.)  But you can't overload either truck so no worries.  That's the beauty of going MDT or HDT if necessary: No drama.



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 1863
Date:

bulgmaf wrote:

 


I am not sure how you derived the "GTW of 24,250 lbs. and pin weight of about 4600 lbs".


-- Edited by Lynn and Ed on Sunday 26th of February 2017 12:57:15 PM


 The 4600 lb pin weight came directly from the horse's mouth when we toured the NH facility last week.  They are currently manufacturing units


Comment on the above pin weights FWIW:   New Horizons is now "standardizing" on the MOR/ryde stair system which folds up into the trailer through the main door.  Nice system BTW.  By doing this they can move the axles forward a bit thus reducing pin weight percentage.  For the Majestics, which are totally customize-able, I'm pretty sure one can still get the older style stairs should one want them but that requires a higher pin weight due to the more rearward axle placement.  But the pin weights, due to all the options and "stuff" full-timers are caring, were getting way up there so this change allows for some reduction. 19% is an OK number as it will tend to go up in the real, loaded world.  However, I'd be a bit concerned going all the way down to the lowest "recommended" percentage which is 15%.  Some manufactures are doing that to allow for smaller (1-ton) pickups to carry the pin weight.  Too low can cause handling problems.  19% won't, IMO.  But for those reading along, getting much below that can lead to issues, IMO.  20% is considered by some to be the "sweet spot."



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 

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