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1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby tsduke [OP] » Apr 12 2012, 7:41pm

We have been shopping campers. Mostly hybrids in the 19-23 foot range, but also looked at a couple bunkhouse style campers in the 27' range(close to 29' with hitch). The 27 is just above 4800# dry so let's say 6000# with gear.


Considering the truck I have, how would it pull? 2012 LT Z71 Ext Cab 4x4.

Weight estimates:
6000 trailer
6000 truck, passengers and stuff)
12,000 total

Truck max towing:
5.3LV8 K5L HD Cooling
Pkg — Conventional Trailer
3.42 4 354 kg (9,600 lbs) 6 804 kg (15,000 lbs)
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby deathphoenix99 » Apr 12 2012, 7:43pm

It should be able to pull it just fine, make sure you have a good brake controller and know how to use it. Also a sway bar for the trailer wouldn't hurt. You may or may not need tow haul depending on the road conditons and grades.
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby tsduke [OP] » Apr 12 2012, 7:48pm

I should add...

I have integrated brake controller. Will be getting reese or curt wd/sway gear. Most towing will be in Iowa so not huge hills, but some if going to southern Iowa or west side of state.

I'm sure mpg will stink. Would I be towing in D, 5th, dropping down only in hills?

Any advice is appreciated. I think storage of the 27'er is going to be a bigger deal than towing it.

Edit: One other thing. I have standard mirrors. Will they work with 8' wide?
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby deathphoenix99 » Apr 12 2012, 8:04pm

Standard mirrors will "work" but tow mirrors will improve your visibility around the camper as well as help eliminate blind spots. I've seen trucks set up like yours that have non tow mirrors pulling larger campers. It's all about what you're comfortable with I guess. I really can't help you on the setup since I don't have the 6 speed, but I imagine if you turn tow haul on, you'd be fine. But you might want to refer to your owners manual since I have 0 experience with your transmission.

A sway gear and W/D hitch would be a good idea, just keep your distance when following someone and be careful of strong winds as they will blow you all around on the road.
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby deathphoenix99 » Apr 12 2012, 8:21pm

Standard mirrors will "work" but tow mirrors will improve your visibility around the camper as well as help eliminate blind spots. I've seen trucks set up like yours that have non tow mirrors pulling larger campers. It's all about what you're comfortable with I guess. I really can't help you on the setup since I don't have the 6 speed, but I imagine if you turn tow haul on, you'd be fine. But you might want to refer to your owners manual since I have 0 experience with your transmission.

A sway gear and W/D hitch would be a good idea, just keep your distance when following someone and be careful of strong winds as they will blow you all around on the road.
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby tsduke [OP] » Apr 13 2012, 2:35am

Anyone towing with similar setup?
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby 08AllTerrain » Apr 13 2012, 3:28am

Not pulling with a similar truck but towed a 27ft bunk style just like your looking at. (Very nice i might add) But with my 3/4ton i used tow haul when i got to hilly parts of my travels. When i was just cruising on flat ground i didnt use it cause my truck would drop into 6th and would lower the rpms. In my opinion you should look into the tow mirrors, i love the mirros on my truck so much for pulling. I only towed that camper once but my mirrors allowed me to see so much. Like the others said its all on your preference. I would also say your truck its pretty much set to pull the camper just fine, best of luck to you tsduke!
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby sportredtruck » Apr 13 2012, 3:42am

I have a 2007 with 3.73 and the 4 speed trans. I pull a 25 foot trailer at about 5,000 lbs. Mine pulls fine on level and moderate hills. Gas milage falls to between 9 & 12 mpg depending on terrain and wind. The truck overall keeps up very well. With the six speed yours should handle the 6,000 lbs just fine. As stated earlier do use a WD hitch for better control.
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby taylor6400 » Apr 13 2012, 2:45pm

I think you are underestimating the weight of your camper. Dry weight doesnt include ANYTHING; no water, no propane, nothing. If you haul loaded with water thats a lot of weight by itself. Plus all your food and gear. Tables, pots, pans, chairs, food, clothing. You will be over 6K, im guessing closer to 7. I have a 25ft travel trailer and i dont normally pull loaded with water, but with just my gear and ready to camp im 1500lbs over "dry" weight. My dry weight is 4500lbs. Im at 6K loaded. I still think you will be ok. I do use a WD hitch and it makes it really nice to tow. It really helps the sag and when you go over bridges your truck levels out quickly compared to the up and down about 3 times without it. Get one. ITs worth the investment, and get one that either has sway control or can be added. Plus a good brake controller. I dont have tow mirrors but its on my short list of mods when i have some cash. Im getting a site this summer from Mem Day to Labor Day with gas prices so i wont have to tow as much.

Im comfortable with mine but in the hills where i live i still wish i had a 3/4, i have had my tranny temps creep up over 200 a couple times in the 90+ degree summer heat. Personally i wouldnt want to go much bigger with a half ton...and yours would be the largest i would feel safe towing in a half. But...i have seen some people pulling huge campers with a half ton...bed loaded, sagging like you wouldnt believe and no WD hitch. To me thats just asking for an accident.
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Re: 1/2 Ton Camper Towing Questions

Postby tsduke [OP] » Apr 13 2012, 3:04pm

I will never pull full of water. Very little amount if I ever to. We camp where there's hookups. Your estimates are much higher than anyone is telling me to account for. At least for the bunkhouse style I was told plan for 1000#. I thought 1000# seemed high for what we take.

Crap I've look at a couple hybrid type campers that only have 600# between dry and gross. Such as a 23' with a hard rear bed slide out and bunks up front. How do they manage?
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