Weight removal in an older camper to tow with a 1/4 ton P/U

Old 10-21-07, 07:31 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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Weight removal in an older camper to tow with a 1/4 ton P/U

Hello All.
I am wondering if anyone has ever undertaken the project of renovating an older model travel trailer to reduce the Dry Weight significantly enough to accommodate a smaller tow vehicle. We have a 30' Ultra Light (Dry Weight 4289#'s) that doesn't get used nearly as much as we would like that we tow with a Dodge Ram 1500. We are now looking into some older model trailers that can be revitalized in order to save some $$ and justify using the trailer only a few times a season. The problem is... we are hoping to have a fairly large trailer still (26'-29'), which means more weight in older models and more weight than my truck can tow (4900# recommended). My thought is that weight might be able to be reduced in an older model trailer by changing layouts, appliances, cabinets, countertops, etc with lighter weight newer materials/components. I have experience working with laminating light weight materials such as honeycomb cores, foams, thin gage aluminum, decorative laminates, etc.. so I am willing to put in the time. Just wondering if there are any thoughts about how much weight could be removed, and where the majority of the weight could come from. Any thoughts, ideas, questions, warnings, etc would be greatly appreciated.
Old 10-23-07, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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You will be hard pressed to do significantly better than the Mfg of the trailer you currently have at reducing weight. Todays ultralight trailers are bare bones when it comes to structure, support, backing, ect. They are struggling to get as large a trailer in as light a package as possible. They all want to advertise 1/2 ton towable. So an older trailer built before this "lite" craze started will have lots of heavier stuff in its construction that will be hard to lighten up. Like inside the sidewalls, floor, and roof. They will usually be much more than the 150#/linear foot that you currently have.
You might do better looking at a shorter unit or maybe regearing you trucks rear end. Regearing will reduce you fuel economy though.
Your best bet is not to exceed 80% of your trucks rated capacity. That means a fully loaded trailer, should not exceed that 80% of your tow rating, That gives you alot of extra controll and stability when you need it. you also need to consider how much weight you have in people, stuff, fuel, ect on the truck itself. Add your loaded hitch weight to the weight of what you have on the truck you dont want to exceed gawr or gvwr 80% is a good rule here too. I am not trying to rain on your parade here, just being honest with you. I was in your position earlier this yr. The truck I had wasnt really up to the task I had it doing. there is a diffence between what a truck can do, ought to do, and is rated to do. I bought another larger truck. It easily handles my trailer and is much more stable in all traffic conditions vs my old truck. Wind conditions that would have produced white knuckle experiences in my old truck dont even phase my new one. of course i pay for that in much lower fuel economy. But that isnt what I bought the truck for. I also have a payment book now where the old one was paid for. to each their own I suppose. How much time do you really spend in the trailer anyhow? We spend most of our time when in the campsite outside under the awning. Maybe you dont really need such a large trailer. Sure more room is nice but if money is an object (which seems to be the problem in everything these days unless you are the government) you gotta make choices.

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