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RV University This Week 11/01/2010

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RV University this Week
Your weekly source for interesting
RV articles, tips, tricks, video clips and advice

From the Industry Leader in RV Education:
RV Education 101
U of RV Journal #80 - November 1, 2010

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"Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open."
~Thomas Dewar





by Mark Polk






Hi Everybody,

For many years I have wanted to see standardized testing, across the board, when it comes to determining vehicle tow capacities. I have always questioned (not all but many) published tow ratings. When Ford introduced the 2008 model year F-150 advertising an 11,000 pound tow rating I seriously questioned it and in fact called them on it.

I have been following the progress on a Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) J 2807 standard for establishing tow vehicle ratings and I am pleased to see vehicle manufacturers embracing this new standard.

By 2013 it looks like all manufacturers will be on board, testing their vehicles against this new standard to determine tow capacities. To read more about this topic be sure and check out this week's feature article.

**REMINDER! It is getting colder, don't forget to winterize your RV!

Until next week, plan your trip, travel safe and enjoy your RV experiences. Remember, getting there is half the fun!
Mark Polk


Finally a Towing Standard on the Horizon! What is J2807 and why is it important? If you haven’t heard, SAE J2807 is a standard that will be used to determine the trailer weight rating of all tow vehicles........... Read the article





Check out this week's poll: "Do you or your partner have a problem backing your motorhome or trailler into a campsite?"
To participate in the poll, look on the left hand column (here at RV University) towards the top


Hot Springs National Park paving project to begin at Gulpha Gorge Campground
Sections of Gulpha Gorge Campground will be closed to traffic for short periods of time starting Monday, Nov. 1 in preparation for resurfacing of the entire campground road system........

Cataloochee Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to require reservations
Advance reservations will be required to camp in Cataloochee Campground next year ........

Deer hunts to close Douthat State Park
All overnight facilities and day use areas will be closed at Douthat State Park Nov. 2 through Nov. 4, Nov. 9 through Nov. 11, and Nov. 16 through Nov. 17 due to managed deer hunts throughout the park....


...with Mark Polk

Ball & Ball Mount –
Hitch balls have three basic measurements, the ball diameter, the shank diameter and the shank length. Ball diameter sizes come in 1 7/8”, 2” and 2 5/16”. The ball size must be the right size for the coupler on the trailer you are towing, and be rated to tow the trailers GVWR. The ball mount is the removable portion of the hitch that slides into the hitch receiver. For Weight Carrying (WC) hitches it may be necessary to find a ball mount with a drop or rise to help level the trailer when its hooked up to the tow vehicle. An adjustable ball mount is used for heavier trailer applications. Adjustable ball mounts allow the ball to be raised, lowered or tilted to compensate for trailer tongue weight and to attain proper height adjustments. Adjustable ball mounts are normally used with Weight Distributing (WD) hitches.

Diesel Pusher
A motorhome with a rear mounted diesel engine, often times referred to as a pusher.




by Mark Polk

Mark's RV Quick Tip:
Storing an RV with slide outs There are many different types and manufacturers for slide out mechanisms. For hydraulic slide outs HWH says storing it “in” or “out” is okay, but they recommend periodically operating the slide outs when the unit is stored. I would say it’s better to leave slide outs in the stored, retracted position, with a good tight seal during storage. This will prevent any possible damage from excessive snow accumulation on the slide out awning (if equipped). Always follow the manufacturer directions for operating slide outs. Make sure the RV is level before extending any slide out. If slide outs are stored in the “out” position clean any debris from the top of slide outs before retracting to the stored position.


...with Mark Polk

Q. Mark I have a 2007 dodge 1500 quad-cab short bed with a 5.7 hemi and 3.92 axle ratio. I am trying to find out what the towing weight is. I've gotten estimates from 5700 to 11,000 lbs. I have the towing package on it, I called the dealer and they said they could not tell me even with my vin # I am looking at getting a Travel trailer that weights approx. 6700 lbs and 2900 lbs payload. Also i will have a w/d hitch. Will I be able to tow this trailer safely? The truck also has 20" wheels with P275/60R tires. The dealer says I will be ok but I'm afraid they might tell me anything to make a sale.
Thank You

Mark Says:
The 2007 towing guide lists your truck as having a tow capacity of 8,700 lbs. if it is 2WD and 8,500 lbs. if it is 4WD.

Ideally, in a perfect world, you would want the towing capacity to exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the trailer you are purchasing. This way the truck can handle the weight even if the trailer is loaded to full capacity.

I believe you said the dry weight was 6,700 lbs. and there were an additional 2,900 lbs. before reaching the GVWR. In this case if the trailer were loaded to the max weight it would weigh in at 9,600 lbs. thereby exceeding the trucks capacity by nearly 1,000 lbs.

This probably would not happen (maxing out to the GVWR), but the numbers do allow for that amount of weight.

At one time I had a 99 Dodge with a 8,800 lb. tow rating and I bought a trailer with a dry weight of 6,800 lbs. I didn't load much in it and boy did I know it was back there.

I personally have always felt manufacturers tow ratings are inflated in an effort to compete with the other guys numbers.

I guess the answer to your question is if you were careful with the amount of weight you load in the empty trailer (you should weigh it when loaded) your truck could tow it according to published tow figures. But as I mentioned earlier, in a perfect world I would look for a trailer with a GVWR that is at or less the trucks published tow rating.

Here is a link to the towing guide where you can check the numbers. Be sure and read the footnotes!


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About us:

Our goal with RV University This Week is to provide you with helpful information to make all of your RV experiences more enjoyable. I left my position as an RV Sales and F&I manager in 2000 to start my own company, RV Education 101. We produce educational videos, DVDs and e-books on how to use and maintain your RV. The reason I left my job was due to my concern about the lack of educational and safety awareness material available to the RV consumer, in other words, you. We are a small company. My wife Dawn left her position in RV sales to help start the company and is our Sales and Marketing Director. We currently have a 35-foot Class A motor home. We have two boys, Tyler 13 and Josh 19, both avid RVers and two dogs, Gracie and Buck. Gracie is the good one. If you would like to learn more about us and RV Education 101 feel free to visit http://www.rveducation101.com

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Happy Camping,

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RV Education 101
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