Travel Trailers Under 4000 lbs

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by ChevyFan, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    travel-trailers-under-4000-lbs.jpg Travel Trailers come in two classifications: less than 4,000 lbs. and more than 4,000 lbs.

    Less than 4,000 lbs.
    This class of trailer is designed to be hauled behind the average family car, minivan, SUV or other small vehicle that’s properly set up and factory-rated for towing. Most such trailers are fully-equipped like their big brothers, but they’re smaller and most facilities are downsized to fit the compact space. You may not get a lot of lounging or bathroom space and the kitchens are usually functional but not extra roomy, but these rigs include full comfort and livability hardware such as a furnace, an on-demand water system and so on.

    Storage and parking is less complex with a smaller trailer, but some cargo capacity and general elbowroom are sacrificed in the interest of smaller size.

    Keep an eye on the larger units in this class. Some manufacturers list their dry weight RVs as “less than 4,000 pounds” but by the time you start with a 3,800-pound “dry” weight and add options, fluids and cargo, the true weight is considerably more. Be careful, or you’ll overload that rig rated for 4,000 pounds in a hurry.

    More than 4,000 lbs.
    These are among the most popular RVs on the road. They’re fully equipped, have a wide variety of floorplans aimed at families or couples or anything in between, and can be had in a dizzying array of price/quality levels, sizes and options.

    You don’t need a pickup to tow a travel trailer. Many full- and mid-size family vehicles can be set up for safe and sensible towing, and there’s likely a trailer out there that fits your needs.

    Some travel trailers can, under certain conditions, exhibit an occasional tail-wagging sway that can lead to uncomfortable moments for the driver. That’s why, all other factors being equal, many users choose a fifth-wheel. However, if a pickup is your tow rig of choice, a travel trailer leaves the pickup bed free for hauling extra cargo in weatherproof security under a bed canopy. Some people find backing a trailer difficult and hitching up a chore, but backing gets easier with practice — as does hitching and unhitching.

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    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  2. steved

    steved Former Member

    Spoken like a true RV salesman...I know you quoted this from the other site, but drive onto any RV lot and they will try to convince you that you can tow a 15k pound trailer with a Minivan or put a 4k pound 11-foot slide in camper in a Dodge Dakota. Just look at the tow vehicle/camper combinations roaming down the road the next time you're out if you don't believe me...some of it is down right scary.

    Take this for what its worth: if you're out looking for a new camper, know what the GVWR of your tow vehicle is "properly equipped" and not what the salesman says you can tow. That salesman is there to sell a camper, and a lot of them work on commission; which makes them want to sell the most expensive model they can squeeze out of the buyer. Always remember, its about your safety and comfort, not what the tow rig can tow.
  3. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Yeah, I agree 100%. It's all about the GVTW along with other stuff like making sure your vehicle is in good working order, the tires and brakes are good, etc.
  4. silverhobey

    silverhobey Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    We had AStro van years back, and RV salesman thought we could pull 6500 lbs.yeah right. Then, met a guy who darnwell was pulling 6500 lbs!!!found dead out that he redid all of his suspension and put in airbags in the rear, changed the gears, ordered hd driveshaft, and whatever, I can't remember.all this to pull a trailer and I'm glad I didn't have to pass that yahoo on the highway...Brian from Canada...p.s. Not all of in Canada tow lime that!!
  5. Conlan Rose

    Conlan Rose Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    It also matters if you have a factory hitch with tow package or not. After market kits don't magically make your tow vehicle able to go for the max. My truck with its current setup is designed to handle 6,500lb with weight distributing hitch. If I had the 3.73 gears and heavy duty axle it would be bumped up to 7,000lb also weight distributing. I have a factory hitch and tow package with 3.42 gears.

    But in CT anything over 3,000lb needs to have brakes and I currently don't have a controller, but I rarely tow and it isn't far. It is more often that I haul cargo.
  6. jake's silverado

    jake's silverado Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Well Steve are you looking to pull a new travel trailer with that new SUV? Beware of the RV Sales person! Sure that can pull this, we will just get you the right hitch....

    Start cruising those Trailer forums. I can give you 2 that I frequent...
  7. steved

    steved Former Member

    I found the best thing to do when shopping for a travel up with your beater car, and tell them you are just looking. Don't lead on what your tow vehicle is, but know what its towing limits are so you can make the call yourself (or they will be trying to show you the biggest/most expensive thing on the lot). They also tend to show you only what they feel is in your price range (based on what you drive onto the lot in) in with a shiny new pickup, they will show you only the fully loaded (read: $$$$$$$$$) models.

    On one of my lot cruisings, I had one salesman trying to convince the wife we could tow a 4800# travel trailer with her Forester, and while it is a turbo-charged version; he was out of his flipping mind! On another one, I pulled in with my new Dodge 2500 Cummins, and they immediately took me to an $86K 5vr!!

    As I said previously, just take note of what you see towing what down the road the next time you're out and about...its downright scary out there!
  8. buckmeister2

    buckmeister2 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    there are very few "family cars" , and no "small vehicls" that are rated to tow 4000 pounds! Most family sedans, like a Lumina, have a max tow rating of 2000 pounds, regardless of how they are equipped. The 2-wheel drive Envoy can tow up to 4000, I believe, maybe more if equipped properly.
  9. 87silver

    87silver Member 1 Year

    But you are correct about mods. I had a '94 Astro EXT bought new and pulled a 4k lb travel trailer (wet weight) for 6 years and 40k miles, but couldn't have done it as equipped from the factory. I only needed to change the rear from 3.42 to 3.73 and added a trans cooler. Never had an issue. But I wouldn't try to pull 6500 lbs with it.
  10. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I'm not ready to buy right now, probably in the spring. probably a lite trailer with a slide out, etc.

    Need a trailer sponsor on here!

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